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745 C89b 65-12702 


The bases of design 

REF 745 C89b 


Bases of design 




,G. LTD, 


First Edition, Medium 8vb, 1898. , 
Second Edition, Crown 8vo, 1902. 
Reprinted, 1904, 1909, 1914, 1920. 




I A H E substance of the following chapters ori- 

X ginally formed a series of lectures addressed 

to the students of the Manchester Municipal 

School of Art during my tenure of the directorship 

of Design at that institution. 

The field covered is an extensive one, and I am 
conscious that many branches of my subject are 
only touched, whilst others are treated in a very 
elementary manner. Every chapter, indeed, might 
be expanded into a volume, under such far-reaching 
headings, to give to each section anything like 
adequate treatment. 

My main object, however, has been to trace the 
vital veins and nerves of relationship in the arts 
of design, which, like the sap from the central stem, 
springing from connected and collective roots, out 
of a common ground, sustain and unite in one 
organic whole the living tree. 

In an age when, owing to the action of certain 
economic causes the chiefest being commercial 
competition the tendency is to specialize each 
branch of design, which thus becomes isolated from 
the rest, I feel it is most important to keep in mind 
the real fundamental connection and essential unity 
of art : and though we may, as students and artists, 
in practice be intent upon gathering the fruit from 
the particular branch we desire to make our own, 
we should never be insensible to its relation to 
other branches, its dependence upon the main 
stem and the source of its life at the root. 



Otherwise we are, I think, in danger of becom- 
ing mechanical in our work, or too narrowly 
technical, while, as a collective result of such 
narrowness of view, the art of the age, to which 
each individual contributes, shows a want of both 
imaginative harmony and technical relation with 
itself, when unity of effect and purpose is particu- 
larly essential, as in the design and decoration of 
both public and private buildings, not to speak of 
the larger significance of art as the most permanent 
record of the life and ideals of a people. 

My illustrations are drawn from many sources, 
and consist of a large proportion of those origin- 
ally used for the lectures, only that instead of the 
rough charcoal sketches done at the time, careful 
pen drawings have been -made of many of the 
subjects in addition to the photographs and other 

It may be noted that I have freely used both 
line and tone blocks in the text and throughout 
the book, although I advocate the use of line 
drawings only with type in books wherein com- 
pleteness of organic ornamental character is the 
object. Such a book as this, however, being 
rather in the nature of a tool or auxiliary to a 
designer's workshop, can hardly be regarded from 
that point of view. The scheme of the work, which 
necessitates the gathering together of so many 
and varied illustrations as diverse in scale, subject, 
and treatment as the historic periods which they 
represent, would itself preclude a consistent decor- 
ative treatment, and it has been found necessary 
to reproduce many of the illustrations from their 
original form in large scale drawings on brown 



paper touched with white, as well as from photo- 
graphs which necessarily print as tone-blocks. 

I have to thank Mr. Gleeson White for his 
valuable help in many ways, as well as in obtain- 
ing permission from various owners of copyright 
to use photographs and other illustrations, and 
also the publishers, who have allowed me the use 
of blocks in some instances Mr. George Allen 
for a page from "The Faerie Queene" ; Messrs. 
Bradbury, Agnew and Co. for the use of the 
" Punch " drawings ; and Messrs. J. S. Virtue and 
Co. for the use of photographs of carpet weaving 
and glass blowing, which were specially taken for 
" The Art Journal." My thanks are also due to 
Mr. Metford Warner (Messrs. Jeffrey and Co.) 
for the use of his photo-lithographs of my wall- 
paper designs issued by his firm; to Mr. R. 
Phen6 Spiers for the use of his sketch of the iron 
balustrade from Rothenburg; to Mr. T. J. Cobden- 
Sanderson for photographs of two of his recent 
bookbindings ; to the executors of the late Rev. 
W. H. Greeny for permission to reproduce two of 
the illustrations from his "Monumental Brasses 
on the Continent of Europe" (now published by 
Mr. B.T. Batsford); also to Mr. Harold .Rathbone, 
who kindly allows me to reproduce the cartoons 
by Ford Madox Brown in his possession ; to Mr. 
J. Sylvester Sparrow for the practical notes on 
painting glass ; and to Mr. Emery Walker for help 
in several ways in the preparation of the book. 



November, 1897. 



THIS reprint of " The Bases of Design " gives 
me an opportunity to correct a few errors 
which had inadvertently crept in on its first ap- 
pearance, and also to add a word here and there. 
I venture to hope that the book may prove 
more useful and accessible to students in its 
present form. 



November^ 1901. 




ENCE 48 






SIGN . 191 





DESIGN . 302 






Three typical Constructive Forms in Architecture Lintel, 

Round Arch, Pointed Arch . 5 

Gate of Mycenae 6 

Imitation of Wooden Construction in Stone Tomb in 

Lycia 7 

Ornamental lines in the Frieze of the Parthenon ... 8 
Metope of the Parthenon, showing relation and propor- 
tions of the masses in relief to the ground .... 9 

The Parthenon n 

The Parthenon Eastern Pediment, sketches showing rela- 
tion of lines of sculpture to angle of Pediment ..12 
The Parthenon Elevation showing portion of Pediment, 

Frieze and Columns , . . . 13 

Architectural influence in design of small accessories 

(Greek) 15 

Section of the Colosseum , . . . . .... . . 17 

Hanging the Festal Garland Visit of Bacchus to Icarius 18 

Arch of Constantine . . . 19 

Mosaic, St. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna ..... 21 

Part of Interior 'of Dome of St. Mark's, Venice . . . . 23 

Mosaic of the Empress Theodora, St. Vital e, Ravenna . 24 

Anselm's Tower, Canterbury . . . 27 

Transitional Arcade, South Transept, Canterbury . . . 29 

Typical Forms of Arches 30 

Typical Forms of Gothic Geometric Foliation . . . . 30 

Westminster Abbey, the Nave, looking east . .... 31 

Wells Cathedral, West Front . . . . . . . ... 33 

Westminster Abbey, Fan Tracery in Henry VIL's Chapel .35 
The Five Sisters of York . ... ... . . . . .37 

Details of Tomb, Winchelsea Church (1303) . . . . . 38 

Fourteenth Century Canopied Tomb, Winchelsea Church 39 

Wrought-iron Railing, Wells Cathedral ,40 

Canopied Seat and Sideboard, French Fifteenth Century . 41 




Carved Bench-ends, Dennington Church, Suffolk . . 42 

Brocade Hanging, from the Annunciation, by Memling . 43 

St. David's Cathedral 44 

Structural lines of different periods in harmonious combi- 
nation, Canterbury Cathedral 45 

Matting 49 

Primitive Rush Mat 50 

Assyrian incised Border 50 

Assyrian enamelled Tile 51 

Greek Anthemion Ornament 52 

Wattled Fence .52 

Ancient Volute Ornament .53 

Types of Decoration derived from Thonging 54 

Frieze of the Temple of the Sybil at Tivoli . . . . . 55 

Yoke of Oxen, Carrara ' 55 

Barge-board, Ightham Mote House 57 

Types of Gables 57 

Hazelford Hall, Derbyshire 59 

The Principle of the Dripstone . . . 60 

Towers of San Gimignano . . . . .61 

Tower of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence ...... 63 

Tower with corner Turret, Axinquth Church, Devon . . 64 
Cut Brick Chimneys, Leigh's Priory, Essex . . . . .65 

Brick Chimney, Framlingham Castle . 66 

Cast-iron Fire-dog, St. Nicholas's Hospital, Canterbury . 67 

Cast-iron Grate Back, Bruges . , 68 

Fireplace with wrought-iron Crane, Church Farm, Hemp- 
stead, Essex . . , 69 

Candlesticks 71 

Brass Chandelier, German Seventeenth Century ... 74 

Details of above 75 

Lamps, Candlestick, and Snuffers 77 

Drinking Vessels, etc. 81 

German Beer Mugs . . 82 

Italian Flasks and Bottle 83 

Pitcher from Rothenburg 87 

Plate and Dish Decoration . 87 

Typical Border Systems 89 

Persistent Pattern Plans, Rectangular Basis . . . . . 89 

Corbel, Seventeenth Century, Dennington Church, Suffolk 92 

Misereres, St. David's Cathedral . . 93, 94 

Scandinavian Clay Vessel . . . . . . . . . . . 95 




Modern Egyptian Clay Vessel . . . . . . . . . 97 

Bronze Statue of Louis XV. by Bouchardon, showing 

internal Iron-work and Core 99 

The same, showing distribution of Ducts and Vents . . 101 

Wrought-iron Gates, St. Lawrence, Nuremberg . . . 103 

Wrought-iron Fender, Tongs, Fire-dog and Shovel, Bruges 1 03 

Wrought-iron Altar Screen, St. Thomas's, Salisbury . . 104 
Wrought-iron Balustrade, Rothenburg, from a sketch by 

R. Phene Spiers * 105 

Lady at a Hand Loom, from Erasmus's "Praise of Folly" 

(1676) . , 107 

Diagrams showing the principle of the Loom . . . . 107 

Persian Carpet (South Kensington Museum) . . . . 109 

Embroidery 114 

Facsimile of a page from the " Buch von den Sieben 

Todsiinden " (Augsburg, 1474) 117 

Hans Baldung Griin, facsimile of a page from " Hortulus 

Animse" (Strassburg, 1511) . 118 

William Blake, "A Cradle Song" 120 

Ceiling Motive, Wall-paper designed by Walter Crane . 124 

Ceiling Papers, designed by Walter Crane . . . 125, 126 

Repeating Pattern Wall-paper, designed by Walter Crane 127 
Pattern Plans and Motives controlled by conditions of 

Position and Purpose 129 

Floor Motive, sketch design for inlaid wood, by Walter 

Crane 130 

Drop Repeat Wail-papers, designed by Walter Crane 132, 134 
Page Plans, showing various arrangements of Text and 

Decorations ... . . . . . ... . . 137 

Page from " The Glittering Plain " (Kelmscott Press) . 139 

Page from Spenser's " Faerie Queene " (Walter Crane) . 140 
Thirteenth Century Glass from the Sainte Chapelle, Paris 

(South Kensington Museum) . . . . 142, 143, 145 
Sixteenth Century Glass from Winchester College Chapel 

(South Kensington Museum) . . . . . . . . 147 

Thirteenth Century Glass Grisaille, Salisbury Cathedral . 151 
Cartoons for Glass, showing lead design, by Ford Madox 

Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152, 153 

Modern Glass, designed and executed by J. S. Sparrow . 157 

Porch of Cathedral of S. Jacopo, Pistoia . . . '. . . 165 

Primitive Egyptian House, after Viollet le Due . . . 168 

Column from Temple of Luxor . 169 




Persian Capital, influenced by Primitive Timber Con- 
struction 170 

Lotus Capital, Philae 171 

Frieze in coloured and glazed Bricks, Palace of Susa 
(from the Reproduction in the South Kensington 

Museum), drawn by W. Cleobury .173 

Holy Carpet of the Mosque at Ardebil (South Kensing- 
ton Museum) . . . . 177 

Arab Casement from Cairo (South Kensington Museum), 

drawn by W. Cleobury iSi 

Carved stone lattice Window from the Mosque of the 

Palace of Ahmedabad *&3 

Portion of the Alhambra, drawn by Gustave Dore . . 187 

Old House in Tumov, dated 1816 i&8 

Street in Eger l8 9 

Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Tomb of Beni Hasan (XlXth 

Dynasty) *9S, 

Altar with Offerings, Egyptian Mural Painting, Thebes . 196 

Egyptian Wall-painting (British Museum) 197 

Assyrian Tree of Life I 9^ 

Assyrian Bas-reliefs (British Museum) . .^ . 199, soo, 201 
Assur Beni Pal, Assyrian Lions from the British Museum 203 
Lion modelled by Alfred Stevens and cast in iron . . . 205 

Greek Stele or Head-stone 206 

Indian Flame Halo or Nimbus . .^ . . 207 

Persian Pomegranate forms, from a goat-hair Carpet 

(South Kensington Museum) , 208 

Celtic design, from a Cross at Campbeltown, Argyllshire 209 
Typical ornamental Forms in Persian, Indian, and Chinese 

designs : - 2I * 

Arabian Fourteenth Century carved and inlaid Pulpit, 
Cairo (South Kensington Museum), drawn by W. 

Cleobury 2*3> 2 *5 

Panel in carved and inlaid Wood, from the Mosque of 
Tooloon in Cairo, Fourteenth or Fifteenth Century 

Saracenic . - 217 

The Fylfot or Sauvastika^ and its incorporation in orna- 
ment 224 

Primitive Symbols, Sun, Fire, Water . 224 

Polynesian Carved Ornament, from Hervey Island Paddle 225 
Polynesian Ornament Evolution of the Zigzag . . . 227 
Hindu Symbol of the Universe . ........ 229 




Examples of Egyptian Symbolism 231 

II Nilo (Rome, Vatican) 235 

Venus and Paris the Apples of the Hesperides (from a 

relief at Wilton House) 237 

Christian Emblem: Stags Drinking (Mausoleo di Galla 

Placidia, Ravenna) 240 

Christian Emblem : Peacocks and Vine (Sarcophagus, 

St. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna) 241 

Fra Angelico, Angel (Uffizi, Florence) .... 242, 243 
Orcagna, Fiends from " The Triumph of Death," Fresco 

(Campo Santo, Pisa) . , . . , 245 

Combat of King with Griffin (Ancient Persian Sculpture, 

Persepolis) 247 

Typical Forms of Shields and of Heraldic Treatment . 249 
Sicilian Silk Tissue, Twelfth century (South Kensington 

Museum) . 251 

Alciati's Emblems, designed by Solomon Bernard, Ex 

Bella Pax i , Fortune, Ambition, Avarice 253, 254, 255, 256 
Prehistoric Graphic Art of the Cave Men .... 260, 261 
Egyptian Treatment of Birds (from painted Mummy 

Cases, British Museum) 264 

A Fowler, Wall-painting, XlXth Dynasty (British Museum) 265 
Japanese Graphic Art (from "The Hundred Birds of 

Bari") 266, 267 

Egyptian Scribe, Portrait Statuette, Vth or Vlth Dynasty 

(Louvre). 269 

Sculptured Frieze discovered in the Forum, 1872 . . . - 271" 
Atixerre Cathedral, Fourteenth Century Sculpture . .272 
Amiens Cathedral, Thirteenth Century Sculpture . . .273 
Statue of St. Martha (St. Urbain, Troyes) . . . . ' . 275 
Memling, " Deliverance of St. Peter" (Grimani Breviary) 276 
Mernling, "David placing the Ark in the Tabernacle" 

(Grimani Breviary) . 277 

Albert Diirer, " The Apocalypse " ,-.,,. . . 279 
Albert' Durer, Portrait of Erasmus (1526) ... . . 280 

Albert Diirer, "The Cannon" (1513) . . . . ... 281 

Albert Diirer, The taking down from the Cross (" Little 

Passion") ...... . ....... 283 

Hans Burgmair, Group of Knights from "The Triumphs 

of Maximilian " . . . . . . . . .' . . . 284 

Horned Poppy, from Fuchsius' "De Historia Stirpium" 

(1542) ;< ....... 287 

xvii b 



Japanese Plant Drawing .- - 28 2 9 

Brass of Joris de Hunter and Wife (Bruges, 1439) . . 291 
Brass of King Eric Menved and Queen Ingeborg of Den- 
mark (Ringstead, 1319) 2 93 

Charles Keene, Drawing from " Punch " 295 

Linley Sambourne, Drawing from "Punch" .... 297 

Phil May, Drawing from c < Punch " 299 

Simone Memmi, Fresco containing portrait of Cimabue 

and Contemporaries (S. M, Novella, Florence) . . 307 
Giotto, Portrait of Dante (Pretorian Palace, Florence) . 309 
Giotto, Frescoes (Arena Chapel, Padua) . . . . 310, 311 

Giotto, Frescoes (Assisi) 3 12 > 3*3 

Niccolo Pisano, Pulpit (Baptistery, Pisa) -315 

Orcagna, "Triumph of Death," Fresco (Campo Santo, 

Pisa) 3*7 

Benozzo Gozzoli, Frescoes (Riccardi Chapel, Flor- 
ence) 318,319,320,321 

Botticelli, Detail from " The Adoration of the Magi " 

(Uffizi, Florence) 3 2 3 

Botticelli, "La Prima Vera" (Academy, Florence) . . 325 
Mantegna, Bronze Monument (S, Andrea, Mantua) . . 327 
Mantegna, " The Triumph of Julius Caesar," from Andrea 

Andreani's woodcut 33 x 

Leonardo da Vinci, "The Last Supper" (Milan) ... 335 
Leonardo da Vinci, Study for the Head of Christ ... 337 
Bust of Michael Angelo (S. Croce, Florence) .... 339 
Michael Angelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ("The 

Creation of Man ") . 34 1 

Michael Angelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel . . . . 343 
Michael Angelo, The Delphic Sibyl (Sistine Chapel) . , 345 
Michael Angelo, Tomb of Giuliano de Medici (Florence) 346 
Michael Angelo, Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici (Florence) 347 
Natural variation in Repetition of Ornamental Forms 
Primary School Children drawing on the blackboard, 
Philadelphia ....,,.. . . . . 356, 357 

Axminster Carpet Weaving . . 361 

Tapestry Carpet Weaving . . . . . 362 

Interior of the Atelier of Etienne Delaune, Paris, 1576 . 364 
Glass Blowing . . . . . . . . . .. . . . , 366 

Interior of a Printing Office, Sixteenth Century, from Jost 

Amman ............... 367 

Gold-Tooled Bindings, by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson 370, 371 




WHEN we approach the study of Design, 
from whatever point of view, and whatso- 
ever our ultimate aim and purpose, we can hardly 
fail to be impressed with the vast variety and end- 
less complexity of the forms which the term 
(Design) covers, understanding it in its widest 
and fullest sense. 

From thesimplest linear pattern, or bone scratch- 
ings of primitive man, to the most splendid achieve- 
ments in mural decoration of the Italian Renascence 
or, shall we say, from the grass mat of the first 
plaiter to the finest Persian carpet : or from Stone- 
henge to Salisbury Cathedral the range is enorm- 
ous, and were we to attempt to trace, step by 
step, the true relation between the diverse and 
multitudinous characteristics which such contrasts 
suggest, we should be tracing the course of the 
development of human thought and history them- 

When we stand amazed in this labyrinth this 
enchanted and beautiful wood of human invention 
which the history of art displays, we might be 
content to gaze at the loveliness of particular forms 
there, and simply enjoy, like children, the beauty 


of the trees and flowers ; gathering here and there 

at random, and casting them aside again when we 

were tired, without a thought as to their true 


If, however, we desire to find some clue to the 
labyrinth something which will explain it in part, 
at least, something which will give us a key to the 
relation of these manifold forms, and enable us to 
place them in harmonious order and coherence, we 
shall presently ask: 

(1) How and whence they derived their leading 
characteristics ? 

(2) Upon what basis have they been built up ? 

(3) What have been the chief influences which 
have determined, and still determine, their 
varieties ? 

Let us try to address ourselves to these ques- 
tions, since, I believe/ even if we only end as we 
begin, by inquiry, that, in the course of that inquiry, 
by study, by comparison, and careful observation, 
we shall be able greatly to clear our path, and find 
much to help us as individual students and practi- 
cal workers in art 

(i) The first arts are, of course, those of pure 
utility, which spring from the primal physical 
necessities of man: which are concerned in the 
maintenance of life itself the art or craft of the 
hunter and the fisherman, the tiller of the soil, the 
hewer of wood and the drawer of water : but seeing 
that next to securing sufficiency of food, the efforts 
of man are directed towards providing himself with 
shelter, both of roof and raiment, and since most 
of the arts of the creative sort must be practised 

2 . . .' . 

under shelter of some kind, and that all of them 
contribute in some way towards the building or 
adornment of such shelter, I think we shall find the 
true basis and controlling influences, which have 
been paramount in the development of decorative 
design, in the form and character of the dwellings 
of man and their accessories ; from the temples he 
has raised to enshrine his highest ideals these 
temples themselves being but larger and more 
monumental dwellings to the tomb, his last dwell- 
ing-place. We shall find, in short, the original and 
controlling bases of design in architecture, the 
queen and mother of all the arts. 

In asserting this one does not lose sight of the 
view that all art is, primarily ', the projection or* 
precipitation in material form of mans emotional 
and intellectual nature; but, being projected and 
taking definite shape, it becomes subject to certain 
controlling forces of nature, of material, of condition, 
which re-act upon the mind ; and it is with these 
controlling forces and conditions, and the distinc- 
tions which arise out of them, that we are now 

Such distinctions as exist, for instance, in the 
feeling, the plan and construction -of those patterns 
intended to be laid upon the floors (as in carpets 
or tiles), and such as are intended to cover ceilings 
and walls (as in plaster- work, textile hangings or 
wall papers), obviously arise from the relative 
positions of floor, walls, and ceilings, and the differ- 
ences 'between horizontal and vertical positions ; 
and these conditions are necessarily part and parcel 
of the constructional conditions of the dwelling 


The first shelter may be said to have been the 
shelter of nature without art the TREE and the 
CAVE, the first homes of man ; although he was 
probably not by any means the first animal to hide 
among the woods and the rocks, since he had many 
and formidable foes to dispute with or disturb him 
in possession. It is noticeable that such art as is 
associated with this strange and remote chapter of 
man's existence on the earth the art-instinct which 
impelled the primitive hunter to incise the bone 
and stone implements he used with the images of 
the animals he hunted is purely graphic, and does 
not show any feeling of that adaptive ornamental 
quality characteristic of what we call decorative 
design, which would seem to belong to a more 
highly organized condition of society. "Among 
the primitive Greeks," remarks Messrs. Guhl and 
Koner in their Life of the Greeks and Romans, 
"fountains and trees/ caves and mountains, were 
considered as seats of the gods, and revered ac- 
cordingly, even without being changed into divine 
habitations by the art of man." But, as proving 
literally that art springs out of nature, the cave 
itself led to a development of architecture, as in 
some early Greek tombs where the cave, or cleft 
in the rocks, is utilized and added to by masonry ; 
or where the rock itself was carved and hollowed, 
as in the rock-cut temples of Egypt and India. 
To which some trace the origin of columnar archi- 

The TENT of the Asiatic wandering tribes, and 
the wattled and wooden HUT of the* western and 
northern, come next in the order of human dwell- 
ings, and not only may we trace certain types of 


pattern design to both sources, but it would seem 
as if both the tent and the hut, and perhaps the 
wagon of the Aryans, had had their influence upon 
the more substantial stone structures which suc- 
ceeded them. When tribes became communities, 
townships were founded, and more fixed and. 
settled habits of life prevailed. 

Now we may broadly group the principal types 
of architectural form and construction in three 


principal divisions, following Professor Ruskin, 

1 . The architecture of the Lintel (or column and 

2. The architecture of the Round Arch (or vault 
and dome). 

3. The architecture of the Pointed Arch 1 (or 
vault, gable, and buttress). 

1 Although such a classification may not be quite satisfactory 
from the point of view of the constructive and historical archi- 
tect, it sufficiently serves the present purpose as regards the 
influence of these main types in determining the form and 
character and controlling spaces and lines of the decoration, 

' 5- : 


Of the first we may find the simplest type in 
Stonehenge ; we may find it in equally massive, 
and almost as primitive form at Mycenae, in the 
famous Gate of the Lions, remarkable as being 
the earliest known example of Greek sculpture : 
we may find it more developed in the Greek 
temples of ancient Egypt, at Karnac, Thebes and 
Philce, and we may see_it in its purest form in 

"~~* the Parthenon at 

The derivation 
and development of 
the Greek Doric 
temple from its pro- 
totype of wooden 
construction has 
frequently been de- 
monstrated, and 
the tombs in Lycia 
furnish striking il- 
lustrations of this 
close imitation and 
perpetuation in 
stone of a system 
and details belong- 
ing to wood; and it is instructive to compare its 
features with corresponding parts in the Parthe- 
non, and to observe how closely they agree. It 
is a curious instance of that love for and clinging 
to ancient and traditional forms, that with the art 
and all the resources of Athenian civilization, the 

both surface and sculptural design, which accompanies them 
in ancient, classical, and mediaeval work which it is my object 
to trace. 


form and construction of its temples remained 
much the same, and may be considered as only 
glorified enlargements in marble of their wooden 
predecessors, retaining all the characteristic details 
of those primitive structures. 

By these means, however, qualities of grandeur, 
joined with extreme simplicity, subtle proportions, 
and sparing, severe, but delicately chiselled orna-. 


ment were gained ; which, when heightened with 
colour in the broad and strong sunshine of Greece, 
seemed all sufficient, especially so when they formed 
the framework, or setting, of the most beautiful 
and noble sculpture the world has ever seen, as in 
the Parthenon. 

To this sculpture, indeed, all the lines and pro- 
portions of the building seem to lead the eye, 
while it remains, whether in pediment, metope, or 

" : ,' . ' . 7 ' 

frieze, an essential part of the architectural effect, 
and is strictly slab sculpture, or what may be con- 
sidered as architectural ornament, for, as I have 
elsewhere said, we may fairly consider figure- 
sculpture* to have been the ornament of the Greeks : 
just as one might say that picture writing and 



hieroglyphic were the mural decorations of the 

These sculptures were evidently designed under 
the influence of the strongest architectural and 
decorative feeling, and were constructed upon a 
basis of ornamental lines. There is a certain 
rhythm and recurrence of mass, and line, and form 
in them throughout, and they have all been care- 


fully considered in relation to the places they 


IN- &UF* ^ 

It is to be noted, too, that the sculptures are 
placed in the interstices of the construction; that 
is to say, not on the actual bearing parts. On 

, ' - '. ' 9 . ' : . 

this point it is interesting to compare with the 
earlier forms of pure stone construction at My- 
cenae. The lions over the Mycenae Gate are 
carved upon a slab of stone placed in the tri- 
angular hollow left above the lintel to prevent it 
breaking under the great pressure of the heavy 
stones used. The triangular hollow may be seen 
without the slab in the doorway of Clytemnestra's 
house at Mycenae. Here we have an early in- 
stance of the interstice left by the necessities of 
the construction being utilized as a decorative 
feature, significant in its design, showing the pro- 
tecting image of the Castle of Mycenae, much in 
the same way as we see the family arms sculptured 
over the gateways of our English mediaeval 

Returning to the Parthenon, we see that the 
same principle is observable in the pediment and 
metope sculptures, the frieze of the cella being 
really a mural decoration consisting of facing slabs 
of marble. The building would doubtless stand 
without any of them, as a timber-framed house 
would stand without its boarding, or filling of brick 
or plaster ; but it would be like a skeleton, or a 
head without its eyes much, indeed, as time, 
bombardment, ravage, and the British Museum 
have left it now. 

Before we leave the Parthenon, let me call 
attention to one prevailing principle, character- 
istic of its design in every part; for though 
following throughout the principles or traditions of 
wooden construction, no doubt its proportions and 
lines were consciously and carefully considered by 
the architect with a view to Aesthetic effect. It is 


the principle of recurring or re-echoing line$ y a 
leading principle, indeed, throughout the whole 
province of Design, and one on the importance 


and value of which it is impossible to lay too much 

To begin with the pediment. The main out- 
line is delicately emphasized by the mouldings of 





the edge, which also serve as a dripstone the 
practical origin, probably, of all mouldings. The 
groups of sculptured figures within the recess 
(which further serve to express the pitch of the 
roof) re-echo, informally, in the lines controlling 
their composition, as well as in the lines of limbs 





and draperies, variations of the angle of the 
pediment. Thus, the groups of figures, full of 
action and variety as they are, are united and 
harmonized with the whole building ; while, to 
avoid undue appearance of heaviness on the crest 
of the pediment and on the angles were placed 
anth.emion bronze ornaments. 

The cornice, again, is emphasized by mouldings 
marking the important horizontal lines of the 
building, re-echoed by the lines of the frieze, and 
counteracted and braced by the emphatic vertical 
lines of the triglyphs, and enriched by the little 
dentils below. 

Then we corne to the cap of the Doric column. 
It is simplicity itself. A thin square block of 
marble forms the abacus. The capital is a flattened 
circular cushion of marble, rounded at the sides in 
a diminishing curve to the head of the column, 
which terminates in a horizontal reeding. The 
column itself is delicately channelled with a series 
of lines which follow its outline, and give vertical 
expression to the idea of the support of the hori- 
zontal mass above, the column gradually diminish- 
ing from base to cap, entasized or slightly swelled 
in the middle to avoid the visual effect of running 
out of the perpendicular. The Doric columns 
spring boldly from the steps without base mould- 
ings, the steps repeating the horizontal lines of the 
building again, and giving it height and dignity. 
The other variants of the Greek style will illustrate 
much the same principles in different degrees, and 
we may trace the value of proportions, and recur- 
ring lines, and different degrees of enrichment 
through the other four orders. 


As designers, tjhen, we can at least learn some 
very important lessons from lintel architecture 
generally, and from the 
Parthenon in particular, 
and chief est amongst 
these are 

1. The value of sim- 
plicity of line. 

2. The value of recur- 
ring and re-echoing lines. 

3. The value of orna- 
mental design and treat- 
ment of figures in low 
or high relief as parts of 
architectural expression. 


4, The value of largeness of style in the design 
and treatment of the groups and figures themselves, 
both as sculpture pure and simple and as archi- 
tectural ornament. 

When we come to examine the accessories ot 


Greek life, furniture, pottery, dress, we find them 
all characterized by the same qualities in design 
as we have just been noting- in the architecture ; the 
fundamental architectural feeling seems to pervade 
them. A simplicity of line, balance, and reserve 
of ornament distinguishes alike their seats and 
chairs and tables, caskets, vases and vessels, and 
the expressive lines of their dresses and draperies 
falling into the lines of the figure give life and 
variety, while they contrast with the severity of 
the architectural lines and planes.' 

Now, so far we have been considering the archi- 
tecture of the lintel, and its bearing upon design, 
and the qualities and principles we may learn from 
it generally. 

With the use of the round arch invented, it is 
said, by the Greeks, but always associated with the 
Romans, who used it quite different effects come 
in, with different motives and ideas in design. The 
Roman architecture, the round arch, fulfils the 
functions of both construction and ornament, on 
the same principle of recurrence, or repetition, we 
have noticed before ; as, for instance, in the Colos- 
seum, where the tiers of round arches which support 
the outer wall of the building serve both the con- 
structive and decorative functions. With the use 
of the arch the arcade becomes a constructive 
feature of great decorative value, and takes the 
place in Roman and Romanesque buildings, with 
a lighter and more varied effect, of the columned 
Greek cella. Sunshine, no doubt, had much to dp 
with its use, since a covered arcaded loggia, or 
porch in front of a building, so frequent in Italy, 
gave both shelter and coolness. The use of the 




arch led to vaulting, and to the use of arch mould- 
ings, enrichments, and to the covering the vaults 
with mosaic and painting, and the vaulting led to 
the dome, which, again, offered a splendid field for 
the mosaicist and the painter. 

The Romans borrowed all their architectural 
details from the Greeks, and varied and enriched 
them, adding many more members to the cornice 


mouldings, and carving stone garlands upon their 
friezes, to take the place of the primitive festal ones 
of leaves which were hung there, as in the relief of 
the visit of Bacchus to Icarius, a Romano- Greek 
sculpture in the British Museum. 

They (the Romans) fully realized the ornamental 
value of colonnades and porticoes, and they used 
the column, varying the orders, and translating 
them into pilasters freely as decorations on the 
facades and walls of their buildings, slicing up the 


peristyles of temples, as it were, for the sake of 
their ornamental effect, cutting down the columns 
into pilasters, and placing them, with intervening 
friezes, one on the top of the other, masking the 
construction of the real building, a favourite device 
with the Renascence architects. 


Roman architecture may be considered really as 
a transitional style. While its true constructive 
characteristic is the round arch, every detail of the 
Greek or Lintel architecture is used both without 
and with the arch, and in the latter case the column 
frequently becomes a wall decoration in the shape 
of a pilaster, as well as the cornice, and is no longer 
made use of, as in true lintel construction, to sup- 


port the weight of the roof. In their viaducts and 
bridges and baths they were great builders with 
the arch, but, like some modern engineers, when 
they wanted to beautify they borrowed architectural 
ornament from the Greeks. 

Nothing very fresh was gained for design in 
these adaptations except a certain heavy richness 
of detail in the sculptured cornices and friezes, and 
coffered ceilings. The use of the flat pilaster, how- 
ever, led to the panelled pilaster with its elegant 
arabesque, which was afterwards revived and de- 
veloped with such extraordinary grace and variety 
by the artists of the Renascence and carried from 
Italy westward. 

With the round arch, too, several important 
decorative spaces were given to the designer, the 
spandrel, the panel, the medallion, all of which, 
with the frieze, may be seen utilized for the decor- 
ative sculpture on the arch of Constantino The 
decorative use of inscriptions is also a feature in 
Roman architecture, and the dignity of the form 
of their capital letters was well adapted to orna- 
mental effect in square masses upon their triumphal 
arches and along the entablature of their temples. 

The Romans, too, brought the domed roof and 
the mosaic floor into use, and were great in the 
use of coloured marbles; also stucco and plaster 
work in interiors, the free and beautiful plaster 
work found in the tombs on the Latin Way being 
well known; so that on the whole we owe to them 
the illustration of the effective use of many beauti- 
ful arts, which the Italians have inherited to this 
day, though it must be said often with more skill 
than taste. 


One might say, generally and ultimately, Roman 
art exemplified that love of show, and the external 
signs of power, pomp, splendour, and luxury 
which became dear as well as fatal to them, as they 
appear to do to every conquering people, until 
they are finally enervated and overcome as if by 
the Nemesis of their own supremacy. 


The art of Greece, one may say, on the other 
hand, at her zenith represented that love of beauty 
as distinct from ornament, and clearness and 
severity of thought which will always cling to the 
country from whence the modern world derives 
the germ of nearly all its ideas. 

But when the seat of the empire was transferred 
to Constantinople, and Roman art, influenced by 


Asiatic feeling, and stimulated and elevated by the 
new faith of Christianity, became transfigured into 
the solemn splendour of Byzantine art, the archi- 
tecture of the round arch and the dome and cupola 
rose to its fullest beauty, and such buildings as 
St. Sophia at Constantinople, and St. Mark's at 
Venice, with the churches of Ravenna, mark 
another great and noble epoch in the arts of 

Byzantine design, whether in building, in carv- 
ing, in mosaic, or goldsmiths' work, impresses one 
with a certain restraint in the midst of its splendour; 
a certain controlling dignity and reserve appears 
to be exercised even in the use of the most 
beautiful materials, as well as in design and the 
treatment of form. 

The mosaics of the Ravenna churches alone 
are sufficient to exemplify this. The artists 
seemed fully to realize that the curved surfaces of 
the dome, the half dome of the apse, or the long 
flat frieze above the arch columns of the nave of 
the basilicas, like St. Apollinare in Classe, afforded 
splendid fields for a splendid material, the cross 
light from the deep-set windows enriching the 
effect, and that everything might well be second- 
ary to it. The same principle or feeling is seen 
in St. Mark's where the architecture is quite 
simple, the arches and. vaulting without mouldings, 
nothing to interfere with the quiet splendour of 
the gold or blue fields of mosaic varied with simple 
typical figures, bold in silhouette, placed frankly 
upon them, emblems, boldly curving scroll-work, 
and inscriptions. The execution, too, is as direct 
and simple as the design. Such design and 

22 ' . 


SKfcTCH OF fART Of imCRlOfcOf 

decoration as this becomes an essential and integral 
part of the architectural structure and effect. 

Note the way in which the tesserae are laid (in 

2 3 


the head of the 'Empress Theodora from St. Vitale 

at Ravenna, for instance). The cube is used as 





much as possible, but the cubes vary much in size, 
and are set often with very open joints, the cement 


lines of the bedding showing quite clearly, and the 
surface of the work uneven, the tesserae being 
worked, of course, from the front and in situ, pre- 
senting a varied surface of different facets which, 
catching the light at different angles, give an extra- 
ordinary sparkle and richness to the effect as a 
whole. In the head of Theodora the effect is en- 
hanced by the discs of mother-of-pearl used for the 

In the laying of the tesserae, too, note that the 
system is followed of defining the outlines with 
rows of cubes, and building up the masses (as in 
the nimbus) with concentric rows, as a rule, making 
the lines of the filling tesserae follow as far as pos- 
sible the line of the boundary tesserae. This, of 
course, would naturally result as the simplest and 
most convenient, as well as most expressive, method 
of laying tesserae, in defining form by means of 
small cubes, and is one of the conditions of the 
work, and when, as in these mosaics, so far from 
being refined away, or concealed, or any attempt 
being made (as in later times) to imitate painting, 
these conditions are boldly and frankly acknow- 
ledged, we see how its peculiar beauty, character, 
and the quality of its ornamental effect depends 
upon these very conditions. 

This principle will be found to hold good and 
true throughout all art. Directly, from a false idea 
of refinement, or with the object of displaying 
mechanical skill, the craftsman is induced to try 
to conceal the fundamental conditions of his craft, 
and to make it ape the qualities of some totally 
different sort of work, he ceases to be an artist, at 
all events. The true artist in any material is he 
v'. . ' - '.' ' 25 ' , ' ' ' 

who in acknowledging its conditions and limitations 
finds in them sources and opportunities of new 
beauty, and in being faithful to those conditions 
makes them subserve his invention. 

After the decorative splendour of the Byzantine 
architecture, the Norman work left in our own land 
seems comparatively simple and plain as time has 
left it, but its remains show its Roman descent in 
the doorway and porch of many a quiet village 
church, as well as on a greater scale in so many of 
our cathedrals, which often illustrate, in a remark- 
able way, the transition or growth of one style out 
of another, the new evolved from the old. 

At Canterbury, for instance, one reads the signs 
which mark the transformation of the Norman 
building into the Gothic. The first church founded 
by St. Augustine was Saxon. This was enlarged 
by Otho (938) as a basilica. This again was ruined 
by the Danes (1013). The Norman part of the 
present building was constructed by Bishop Lan- 
franc (1070), on to which was grafted, as it were, 
the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth century 
Gothic which distinguish it. 

There is a tower on the south side of the transept 
known as Anselm's Tower (from Bishop Anselm, 
one of the Norman builders), and on the lower 
part runs an arcading of interlacing round arches, 
the tower itself being richly arcaded in several 
stones in round arches. But this lower band shows 
the period of transition, from the use of the round 
arch, to the pointed the pointed lancet arches 
being formed by the interlacing. of the round, so 
that we have here the actual birth of the pointed 
arch (at least, as a decorative feature), which leads 


us to our next typical division and characteristic 
epoch of architectural style. 


We need not go out of our own country to find 
abundant illustrations of typical forms of pointed 
architecture. Almost any village church will give 

us the main features the characteristic plan of 
nave and chancel, curiously following the plan of 
the ancient Roman basilica the public hall and 
law court in one, and perpetuating for us the^type 
of ancient dwelling or hall which may be said to 
have prevailed from the time of Homer to the end 
of the Middle Ages, varying^ chiefly in external 
features and architectural detail. 

The severe lancet arch is characteristic of the 
first phase of the Gothic, which gradually grew out 
of the severer Norman. The gable took a higher 
pitch, and to support the weight and thrust of 
towers and spires, buttresses were used, and these 
became, also, a striking and characteristic feature 
of the pointed arch, which completed in the thir- 
teenth century the period of its first development. 

Lancet arch, high-pitched gable, buttress (plain 
and pinnacled), spired and pinnacled tower these 
are the leading constructive exterior characteristics, 
the carved work, somewhat restrained, and chiefly 
manifested in peculiar foliation of the capitals and 
corbels, and in the hollows of arch mouldings in 
rows of sharp cut clog teeth. 

In the interior clustered shafts took the place of 
the solid round Norman piers, rising, as we see in 
our cathedral naves, to support lofty vaulted roofs, 
the ribs moulded and covered at their intersections 
by carved bosses. 

Again we may note the principle of recurring 
lines which repeat and emphasize the form of the 
arched openings and the structural lines of ^ the 
vaulting in the mouldings. This recurrence gives 
that effect of extraordinary grace and lightness 
combined with structural strength which is so strik- 








A A A 


- OF 

- RIC- 



ing a characteristic of thirteenth century Gothic 
work, and of which there is no finer example than 
the nave of Westminster Abbey. 

" 30 

3 1 


We noted that the Greeks used the interstices 
of their construction for their chief decoration, their 
figure sculpture, and to some extent the same plan 
is followed in Gothic architecture, where we find 
the tympanums of doors, the spandrels of arcades 
(as in the Chapter House at Salisbury or the angel 
choir at Lincoln), and canopied niches (as at Wells), 
used for figure sculpture ; but, at the same time, 
the structural features themselves are emphasized^ 
ornament to a far greater extent, as in caps, arch 
mouldings, the junctions of the vaulting, and the 
like ; and increasingly so in the succeeding Decor- 
ated and Perpendicular periods, until we get vaulted 
roofs of fan tracery like those of King's College 
Chapel at Cambridge, or Henry VII.'s Chapel at 

But if we may say that the chief decorative glory 
of Greek architecture was its figure sculpture, as 
mosaic was of the Byzantine churches, so we may 
say that the traceried window, filled with stained 
and leaded glass, became the chief decorative glory 
of Gothic architecture. 

Unhappily great quantities of glass have dis- 
appeared from our cathedrals and churches, from 
one cause or another, but from the relics that 
remain we may form some idea of the splendour and 
quality of the old glass. 

The famous windows of the south transept at 
York Minster, called "The Five Sisters/' are good 
examples of the severer earlier style of pattern and 
colour, consisting of fine scroll-work and geometric 
forms, in which hatched grisaille patterns are height- 
ened by bright points and lines of colour. 

Thirteenth century glass, where figures are used, 


is characterized by the smallness of their scale in 
proportion to the window, and traces of Byzantine 
tradition in their drawing, intricate design, and deep 
and vivid colouring, the work being composed of 
small pieces of glass leaded together ; the effect of 
the jewel-like depth and quality of the colour 
deep crimsons, blues, and greens being much 
used being increased by the close network of 

As windows, in the course of the evolution of 
the Gothic style, were made broader, or rather, 
the window opening proper from wall to wall 
being greatly increased in width and height, they 
were supported and divided into panels or lights 
by elaborate stone tracery, a tracery which becomes 
almost as distinct a province of design as the 
design of the glass itself distinct from, yet in 
close relationship to the architecture of the 
building*. The comparative slight divisions of the 
tracery, however, gave more scope to the stained 
glass designer, who shows very emphatic architec- 
tural influence in the elaborate canopies which 
surmount the figures occupying the separate lights 
of the windows from the thirteenth to the end of 
the fifteenth centuries, as well as in the general 
vertical arrangement of the lines of their composi- 
tion. He gradually increased the scale of his 
figures and gave more breadth to his design, and 
brought it more into relation with the art of the 
painter and the sculptor, at the same time acknow- 
ledging with them, in the disposition of his figures 
in the space, and the disposition of the draperies 
and accessories, that architectural influence under 
which the artist and craftsman of the Middle Ages 




worked with extraordinary freedom and fertility 
of invention, and yet in perfect harmony 1 - a sign 
of that fraternal co-operation and the effect of the 
formation of men into brotherhoods and guilds, 
which, coming in with the adoption of Christianity 
and the organization of the Church, remained 
through all the turbulence and strife of the time 
the great social force of the Middle Ages, 

It seems to me if we wish to realize the ideal of 
a great and harmonious art, which shall be capable 
of expressing the best that is in us : if we desire 
again to raise great architectural monuments, 
religious, municipal, or commemorative, we shall 
have to learn the great lesson of unity through 
fraternal co-operation and sympathy, the particular 
work of each, however individual and free in 
artistic expression, falling naturally into its due 
place in a harmonious scheme. Let us cultivate 
our technical skill and knowledge to the utmost, 
but let us not neglect our imagination, sense of 
beauty, and sympathy, or else we shall have 
nothing to express. 

Through the thirteenth century onwards to the 
fifteenth Gothic architecture continued to develop, 
to pass through new phases, to take new forms, 
a living and growing style moving with the wants 
and ideals of men. 

After the Early English comes the Decorated 
period, in which the mouldings and foliation become 
fuller, broader, and more ornate. To contrast 
decorated foliation and ornament with the earlier 
work, is like comparing the opening flower with. 

1 As I recur to the subject of glass design in Chapter IV, 
illustrations are given there. 



D6TAILV OF ToMlV _ wir2<.MO.ftA CK. *33 

the bud. The ogee arch was invented, the crockets 
of the pinnacles and canopies grew and increased 


became finer in form, the finials larger and 
more varied. The carved canopies and tabernacle 
work grew richer and more intricate. The foliage 
followed nature more closely. The figure subjects 


of the carver were more freely treated, and dealt 
oftener with common life, with phantasy, or humour. 
The effigies of knight and lady, .or priest, became 
more and more like portraits in stone or alabaster, 
the details of their dresses more rich, delicate, 
and beautiful. The maker of brasses showed a 
freer and more masterly hand, and greater sense 

of ornamental effect 
in the spacing and 
treatment of his 
figures. The work 
of the miniaturist 
and the scribe grew 
more and more de- 
licate and exquisite 
in form, colour, and 
invention. The 
stained glass worker 
increased the scale 
of his figures, and 
varied the quality 
and treatment of his 
colours. The glazier 
invented new "lead 
patterns ; the wood carver revelled in stall work, 
screens, and misereres. The recessed and cano- 
pied tomb enriched the chantries of churches and 

Beauty and invention of extraordinary fertility 
and richness characterized every form of art and 
handicraft associated with Gothic architecture. We 
can trace in each variety the architectural influence 
in every department of work. In some instances 
reproduction of actual architectural details and 


characteristics, as, for instance, when the wrought- 
iron railing of a bishop's tomb (at Wells Cathedral, 
1464-5) reproduced the battlement, buttress and 
pinnacle as motives, giving them, however, a free 
and fanciful rendering suited to the material. 
Abundant instances may be found of the fanciful 
treatment of architectural 
forms in furniture, textiles, 
in painting and carving, and 
metal work the canopies 

over the heads of figures in stained glass, and in- 
closing figures upon brasses, are. instances shrines 
and caskets in the form of arcaded, and buttressed 
and pinnacled buildings, seats and chairs with 
canopied or arched backs, carved bench ends with 
" poppy head" finials and arched and foliated 
panels, censers in the form of shrines. The large 
gold brocaded stuffs used as hangings or coverings, 
and represented in miniatures and pictures of the 



period. Very beautiful specimens are to be seen 

in the pictures of Van Eyck and Memling for 


In all these things we find a re-echo, as it were, 
of the prevailing foliated forms of Gothic archi- 
tecture, repeated through endless variations, the 


controlling and harmonizing element throughout 
the design work of the Gothic periods, the form 
by which all seem to be harmonized and related, 
as the branches are related to the main stem, and 
as the plan of the tree may be found in the vein- 
ing of the leaf. 


The fourteenth century saw the development 
of a new phase of Gothic called Perpendicular. 
It is found united with the Early English and 
Decorated, as well as Norman, in nearly all our 

At St. David's, for instance, there is a remark- 
able instance of a late 
Perpendicular timber 
roof, richly moulded and 
carved, with pendants, 
covering a Norman nave 
of 1 1 So. Yet the effect 
is fine, and one feels glad 
that the restoring archi- 
tect could find no author- 
ity for a Norman stone 
vaulting, otherwise we 
might have lost the rich 
timber roof for a modern 
idea of a supposititious 
Norman vault. The 
sketch (from the south 
side of the choir at Can- 
terbury, p. 45), too, shows 
how harmoniously struc- 
tural lines of different BROCADE HANGING, FROM THE 
rural lines 01 amerent ANNUNCIAT10N BY MEML1NG . 

periods compose. 

The chief characteristics of the late period of 
Gothic (Perpendicular) are a lower pitched arch, 
an elongated shaft, many clustered ; caps and 
bases angular ; ribs of vaulting richly moulded, or 
the vault covered with fan-like foliation in late 
examples, as in Henry VI I /s Chapel. Pinnacles 
begin to take the cupular form, details become 



smaller, windows grow larger and are transversely 

divided by transoms or horizontal bars of stone, 


connecting and solidifying the many vertical mul- 

A certain refinement of detail and line with 
a feeling for emphatic horizontals and verticals 



P1R1OD5 W 


comes in ; and this feeling may be the indication 
of a reaction, as if the constructive and imaginative 
faculties of man were beginning to prepare for the 
next great change that was soon to sweep over 
the art of Europe. 

It might be said that gradually from that time 
architecture, as the supreme organic and control- 
ling influence in the arts of design, gave up her 
prerogative of leadership, and since has rather 
been on the whole displaced in artistic interest 
by the other arts ; or rather, with the change of 
the principle of organic growth out of use and 
constructive necessity in architecture for those of 
classical authority, archeology, or learned electi- 
cism, the different arts, more especially painting, 
began an independent existence, and, with the other 
arts of design, may be said to have been more in- 
dividualized and less and less related both to them 
and to architecture ever since, reaching the extrem- 
est points of divergence perhaps in our own days. 

It seems to me that, on the whole, there can be 
little doubt that architecture and the arts of design 
generally have suffered in consequence ; and to 
bring them back to healthy and harmonious ac- 
tivity we must try to re-unite them all again upon 
the old basis. 

I will terminate here my short sketch of architec- 
tural style and its influence, not attempting now to 
follow it in its later changes and adaptations to 
the increased complexities of human existence. 
My purpose has been rather to dwell upon the 
organic and typical forms of architecture, in my 
endeavour to trace the relationship between it and 
the art of design generally. 

That relationship appears to me to consist chiefly 
in the control of constructive line and form, which 
all design, surface or otherwise, in association with 
any form of architecture is bound of necessity to 
acknowledge as a fundamental condition of fitness 
and harmony. Those essential properties of the 
expression of line, as they now seem, which give 
meaning and purpose to all design, appear to be 
derived straight from constructive necessities and 
the inseparable association of ideas with which 
they are connected ; as, for instance, the idea of 
secure rest and repose conveyed by horizontal 
lines, or the sense of support and rigidity suggested 
by vertical ones may be directly traced to associa- 
tion with the fundamental principles of architectural 
structure, to the lintel and its support, to the laying 
of stone upon stone, and with this clue we might 
trace the expression of line through its many varia- 



NEXT to the architectural basis influence in 
design, and, indeed, hardly separable from 
it, being another side of the constructive, adaptive 
art, we may fitly take the Utility Basis and influ- 

This may be considered in two ways : 

(1) In "its effect upon pattern design and archi- 

tectural ornament through primitive struc- 
tural necessities. 

(2) In its effect upon structural form and orna- 

mental treatment arising out of, or suggested 
by, functional use. 

(i) It is a curious thing that we should find the 
primitive ornamental motives bound up with the 
primitive structures and fabrics of pure utility and 
necessity, but such would appear to be the case. 

The plaiting of rushes to make a mat was prob- 
ably one of the earliest industrial occupations, and 
the chequer one of the most primitive and universal 
of patterns. If we look at the surface effect of the 
necessity of the construction, the crossing of one 
equal set of fibres by another set. at right angles, 
with the interlacement, a series of squares are pro- 
duced, which alternate in tint if the colour of one 
set is darker than the sets which cross it (see illus- 

tration). Emphasize this 
contrast and we get our 
chequer, or chessboard pat- 
tern, which, either as a pat- 
tern complete in itself, as in 
plaids and tartans, or as a 
plan, or effect motive in de- 
signing is, as I have said, 
perhaps the most universal 
and imperishable of all pat- 
terns, being found in asso- 
ciation with the design of all 
periods, and still surviving 
in constant use among* de- 

. i'O.- s 


Let us follow the primitive 
rush mat a little further, how- 
ever. As it lay on the primi- 
tive tent or hut floor its 
edges would take the sort 
of form shown on the following page. In ancient 
Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, and Greek architec- 
ture we constantly find carved patterns used as 
borderings and figures, of the type given in the 
-Assyrian example. Now, comparing this with the 
primitive matting, the suggestion is very strong of 
the probability of derivation of motive of patterns 
of this type from the same constructive source 
originally. In some instances (as on the enamelled 
tile from Assyria, the border reverses itself, but 
with the Greeks it finally took the upright direction, 
as in the Anthemion or honeysuckle border forms ; 
but, however afterwards varied and enriched by 
floral form, its structural origin in plaited work is 

49 E 



always to be traced, and it seems to gain from it a 
certain strength and adaptability. 

Another type of ornament may be traced to the 
constructive necessities of wattle and wicker work, 
so. much used by primitive man in the structure of 
his dwellings, and in primitive objects of use and 

The various forms of volute, or spiral, and guil- 


loche ornament, so much used by the ancients 
Assyrian, Egyptian, and Greek may be compared, 
in their structure and arrangement of line, with the 
form taken by the withy, or cord twisted around 
the upright canes or staves of a wattled fence, as 
seen in horizontal section. The primitive wattled 
structure gives the plans of these patterns. It cer- 
tainly appears to account for their origin in a re- 
markably complete way. 


It is possible that another source which may have 
contributed to the evolution of the Greek spiral or 



volute was metal in the form of the thin beaten 
plates with which the primitive Greeks covered 

5 2 . 

parts of their interior walls ; but these were later 
times, and it is also possible that the primitive 


metal worker took his motive from the wattling 

Before metal was used, or nails or joinery were 
known, the -method of fastening two things together, 


such as the blade of a stone axe or hammer and 
its handle, was by thonging or tying them firmly 
together by strips of leather or thongs, and to this 
source again we might trace other types of pattern 
motives of very wide prevalence. In the first in- 
stances the thonging was imitated in metal- work 
when no longer used in the construction by way of 
ornament, as in various bronze implements exist- 


ing ; but later, starting from the tying and thonging 
motive, we get all sorts of variations, as in the zig- 
zag of Norman arch mouldings, and in the earlier 
Celtic knotted work, which seemed partly a re-echo 
of some types of Eastern and classic ornament, 
unless we regard it as independently derived, like 
them, from primitive structure. It seems to make 
itself felt again in a new variety in the strap-work 
of our Elizabethan period, in which the ornament 


apparently was a new blend of Gothic with classical 
details, with an infusion of oriental or Moorish 
feeling, filtered through Italy and Spain. 


As an instance of architectural ornament, the 
motive of which seems taken from a piece of com- 
mon every-day usage, we may note the frieze of the 
Roman circular Temple of. the Sibyl at Tivoli, 
which is composed of the heads of oxen, alternating 


with, and connected by, the curves of pendent floral 
garlands. To this clay in Italy almost anywhere 
one may see this motive suggested by the appear- 
ance of the country ox wagon as it approaches 
along the road the front view of the two oxen 
heads, with the level yoke across their necks, and 
the pendent connecting ropes hanging between. 

It is probable, however, that whatever its origin, 
its suggestion was sacrificial, since the ox decked 
with garlands constantly figures in classical sculp- 
ture led before the altar to be slain, and this cir- 
cumstance may equally have given rise to the 
sculptor's motive, just as we saw that the custom 
of decking the cornice of the Greek house with 
garlands suggested its perpetuation in stone carv- 
ing by the classical architects. 

It will be noted that those primitive sources to 
which we may trace motives in ornamental design, 
however, afterwards developed on purely orna- 
mental lines, and because of their ornamental 
value, all of them have their beginnings in actual 
use and service, in physical and constructive neces- 
sity, and that they are closely associated with the 
form and character of the dwellings and temples 
of man. 

(2) Turning now to the second division of our 
subject to consider "the effects upon form and 
treatment of surface arising out of, or suggested 
by, functional use," we shall still have to keep 
close to the dwelling, and constantly to remember 
the ever present architectural influence with the 
consideration of which we set out. 

The angle of the pitch of the roof in buildings, 
for instance, which is so marked a characteristic in 


the different types of architecture, was originally 
determined by the necessities of climate. One 
might say broadly that the acute, high-pitched 





Gothic roof means snow or bad weather, while the 
low-pitched classic roof means sunshine for the 
most part ; or we might say that the one typified 
winter and the other summer. A house must still 
be built mainly for one or the other, though by 


ingenuity and careful consideration of the points 
of the compass in choosing the site and planning, 
in the rare instances where free choice is still 
possible, something may be, and has been attempt- 
ed, to fit all seasons ; and it is this careful con- 
sideration of such points in our ancient buildings 
say the old English manor houses, built to dwell 
in and to last which gives that sense of homelike 
comfort and pleasure to the eye, perhaps, quite as 
much as the interest of their ornamental detail. 
A sunny garden terrace or arcaded- front to the 
south to catch the winter sun cool and shady 
rooms to the north for the summer a sheltered 
porch to protect the guest against the weather. 
Such contrivances as these show that thought has 
been spent and care taken in the planning and 
building ; that the builder or designer has been 
influenced by considerations of true utility not in 
the bald and more modem sense of mere money 
or time saving appliance, but the truer economy 
of making a house livable. Here is a sketch of 
one of those old stone halls or manor houses of 
Derbyshire of the seventeenth century (Hazelford 
Hall), charmingly placed upon a hillside, so as to 
fit into or become part of the landscape, while it is 
really planned to live comfortably in, with clue 
regard to the variation of the seasons and the 
winds. The living rooms face south and west. 

Houses nowadays seem more built to sell than 
to live in (at least permanently), since I notice 
that often even when people build a house for 
themselves they constantly want to let it to some- 
body else. I should think that the gipsy van 
would suit modern habits exceedingly well. It 


would be more picturesque than " a brick box with 
a slate lid," to which most of us are committed, 
and probably much less expensive in the long run. 
The only thing required to make it practicable on 
any scale is a trifling alteration in the land laws. 

The origin of mouldings in architecture, as their 
use in the capacity of dripstones declares, was to 
serve a purely useful purpose the alternating 

concavity and convexity of the members which 
generally characterize them affording escapement 
for the rain water, and keeping it away from the 
windows and doors. 

To give a simple illustration of the principle. 
If the sill of a window, for instance, be left rect- 
angular and perfectly level, the water would be 
likely to run inward through the window, or 
perhaps into the wall, but if sloped on the upper 
surface and hollowed beneath, the water would 



tend to drop from the under outer edge clear of 

both window and wall. 

This necessity led to motives in design and 



ornamental effect, and mouldings became valuable 
parts of aesthetic expression in architecture, afford- 
ing means of emphasis, of giving the effect of 
receding planes, and of using the important principle 
of recurring lines to which I called attention in the 
first chapter. 


The barge-board, too, so picturesque a feature 
in old timbered houses, had the same useful pur- 
pose to subserve in keeping the weather from injur- 
ing roof and wall. 

Staircases with the necessary handrail, again, 
have led to beautiful form in design, not only in 
the planning of the staircase itself, which is so 
important a feature in every house, but in the 
interesting and varied design in the balusters sup- 
porting the handrail, and in newel heads, etc. 

Towers and church steeples, which form such 
important and picturesque features in architectural - 
(and, one might add, landscape) design, owed their 
existence, in the first place, to the necessities of 
watch, guard, and defence, and probably also 
means of .communication by signals. 

To the mediaeval city, which, as it is now being 
realized, was a highly organized arrangement for 
mutual aid and defence, towers were of great im- 
portance both for watch and defence. They served 
as strong buttresses and vantage posts placed at 


intervals along the inclosing city wall, and flanking 
the gateways. The boldness and grace of design 
in some mediaeval towers is very notable. Those 
of Siena, for instance, and that town of towers, 
San Gimignano, of which I give a rough sketch to 
show the effect from a distance of the clustering 
towers, like a crown upon the hill top ; above all, 
perhaps, is the famous tower of the Signoria or 
Palazzo Vecchio, the old city hall of Florence 
(thirteenth century). The Belfry of Bruges (thir- 
teenth century), too, is another fine instance of 
boldness and grace of design. It had formerly a 
spire, which is shown in a sixteenth century picture, 
the background of a portrait by Pourbus, a Flemish 
painter, but the spire was twice destroyed by fire, 
and was not renewed a third time. But even as 
it stands the belfry is very striking, and, while it 
commands a vast prospect of the country round, it 
is also conspicuous all over the town, and a land- 
mark to the flat country round about. 

The towers of our own ancient village churches 
are generally battlemented, and the square ones 
often have a corner turret to give a more command- 
ing view ; and this again gives variety, and is a 
very picturesque feature. The battlements them- 
selves (though intended for use in defence) are 
extremely ornamental features, and give relief and 
lightness to the parapet In later Gothic times 
they were frequently fancifully pieced and filled 
with ornament, as on Magdalen Tower at Oxford. 
Their decorative value was perceived by the wood 
carver of the Gothic times, and they are con- 
stantly introduced in tabernacle work, screens, and 
furniture, where their use is purely decorative. 



Chimneys, a- 
gain, afford an 
instance of a 
purely useful and 
serviceable object 
lending itself to 
ornamental treat- 
ment and becom- 
ing important as 
parts of the de- 
sign of a building. 

The first chim- 
ney in England is 
said to be the one 
existing in the 
Norman house at 
Chri s tc hurc h, 
Hampshire. The 
common practice 
was to have the 
fireplace in the 
centre of the hall 
and let the smoke 
escape by a louvre 
in the roof, as may 
still be seen in the 
hall at Penshurst 
Place in Kent 
(fourteenth cen- 
tury) ; but in later 
times, especially 
in the Tudor pe- 
riod, the chimneys 
of brick are often 




found full of invention and variety in design, and 

extremely rich in effect. I give sketches of some 

characteristic examples at Framlingham Castle 
and Leigh's Priory. 

The fine old brick chimney stacks one finds 
among the old farmsteads of Essex it is supposed 

were built first and then the half-timbered house 
built around the brick stack. 


Other useful things connected with the fireside 
and the chimney corner, which are remarkable for 

65 F 

their adaptability in ornamental design, are the iron 
fire-dogs used to support 
the burning logs. We find 
them in great variety of 
shape and treatment, while 
their main or necessary 
lines remain the same. It 
is the standard or upright 
front part which affords 
a field for the inventive 
craftsman and designer. 
The fire-irons, too, are 
again purely useful in their 
object, but have become 
highly graceful and elegant 
in some of their forms. 

The iron grate back (not- 
ably those of old Sussex), 
placed at the back of the 
fire against the chimney to 
protect the brick-work and 
radiate the heat, had again 
a purely useful function, 
but it has been the object 
of a great deal of fine and 
rich decorative design, 
chiefly of a heraldic or 
emblematic character, and 
many old examples exist. 
Cast iron has in modern 
times acquired a bad name 
BRICK CHIMNEY, FRAMING- (artistically speaking), but 


plication, as in railings or grills, where it endeavours 


to usurp the place of wrought 'iron. In a flat panel 
or plain surface, such as a grate back affords, how- 
ever, cast iron has a singularly good effect, and 
renders bold designs well. There are some fine 
heraldic grate backs in cast iron to be seen at 
Cheetham's Hospi- 
tal, perhaps the 
most interesting 
building in the City 
of Manchester. 

I give a sketch 
of a quaint cast-iron 
chimney back of 
Gothic design from 
Bruges. At the 
Museum at the old 
Rath Haus there is 
a very good collec- 
tion of examples. 
Somehow, with the 
modern, or rather 
mid-Victorian iron 
register fireplace all 
beauty and interest 
of design is lost. 
Though it should 
be remembered that 
a really fine artist 
and designer^ like Alfred Stevens spent his talent 
upon such things. 

The conception of the thing, however, seems 
joyless and ugly, and in most surviving examples 
the ornament in endeavouring to be elegant be- 
comes frittered and mean; and as to sheet-iron 



stoves they seem to be under a ban of hideousness, 
which seems sad when one recalls the charming 
and cheerful earthenware stoves of Germany of 
Gothic and Renascence times, full of colour and 


invention. The revived use of tiled chimney, and 
recessed and basket grates, has done much to 
restore cheerfulness to our hearths. 

Before we leave the chimney corner I might 
mention another bit of metal, important before the 
days of kitchen ranges as the chief cooking ap- 


paratus, I mean the iron crane that is sometimes 
found still suspended in the wide chimneys of old 
farmhouses, made of wrought iron, twisted and 
curled, and with bright bosses of steel upon it, 
and great in hooks and hinges. Here is a sketch 
of a typical example in an Essex farmhouse. 

Considerations of use, again, very evidently con- 
trol design in lamps and candlesticks. A lamp 

necessitates : (i) a reservoir for tke oil, and (2) a 
neck and moutk to hold the wick, and (3) a firm 
and steady stand. All these requisites are combined. 
with addition of handle, in the oldest and simplest 
form of lamp the portable antique lamp to be 
carried in the hand. The reservoir is there, though 
small, and needing re-filling from a larger vessel 
(as was the case in the parable of the ten virgins). 
These lamps were often placed upon the top 
of slender fluted tripod stands, to give light in 


the house, or hung In clusters by chains from a 
branched stand like a tree. A combination of 
many of the characteristics of the antique lamp is 
found in the comparatively modern brass Roman 
lamp (now called antique, but till within a few 
years, and I believe still, commonly used by the 
people) : we have the small reservoir, with four 
necks for the wicks, closely resembling in form 
the antique hand lamps. This is pierced by the 
shaft of the stand, which finishes in a ring handle 
at the top and terminates in a broad moulded 
stand, so that the lamp can be used for carrying 
or standing with equal facility. The little imple- 
ments for trimming, snuffing, and extinguishing 
are suspended by small chains from the neck of 
the standard and add to the ornamental effect. 
Each part is made separately and screws together. 

With the modern powerful lamps of mineral 
oil and circular wicks, much larger reservoirs are 
required, and modern lamps have tended to take 
the urn shape owing to this necessity, and they 
lose in beauty of line generally as they gain in 
body (much like people). A satisfactory type has 
been introduced by Mr. W. A. S. Benson, of 
copper, with a copper fan-like shade, which is 
generally a difficulty with a modern lamp; and 
the glasses also, while necessary, complicate the 
design and cannot be said to add to the beauty, as 
a rule. (See Illustration, p. 77.) 

However, a lamp design can never get away from 
the primitive triple conditions of lamp structure 
with which we saw in its earliest form reservoir y 
neck for the wick> and stand possibly handle but 
within these demands of utility there is scope for 


very great variations, and unlimited taste and in- 

The candlestick, with which the hand lamp has 
something in common, is, however, quite distinct 
in character, seeing that it is formed to hold the 
combustible part in a solid, instead of a liquid form. 
Its requirements, therefore, are a firm stand (like 
the lamp), a reasonable height, on which to raise 
the light, another to hold the candle, and something 
to catch the melting grease. 

These conditions are satisfied in the form of the 
antique brass candlestick, but still better in the 
older Gothic form, or the church candlestick, which 
has a spike on which to hold the candle, instead of 
a hollow. A candlestick, therefore, should be true 
to its name and remain a stick, or moulded tubular 
column, though capable of development into the 
candelabrum, throwing out branches for extra lights 
from the central stem ; a suggestive form, if suffi- 
ciently restrained, designed with taste. 

The ancient hanging brass candelabra of the 
sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, 
or earlier, are very good in form as well as practical. 
There is a fine Gothic one in Van Eyck's picture 
in the National Gallery, "Jan Arnolfini. and his 

I have a good example of the later type a 
German one. The stem is surrounded by the 
double eagle, and there are several tiers of mould- 
ings, the larger ones being flat, and cut into notches 
at the edge to serve as sockets to receive the cor- 
responding part of the branch, which fits on to them 
and supports the candles. These are arranged in 
two tiers of six lights each, and between each light 








occurs a little ornamental branch or finial, the whole 
being detachable from the hanging stem terminat- 
ing in a brass sphere which keeps it straight and 
steady. It is a fine example of good, simple, and 
practicable design, which should always unite 
necessity and utility with beauty. 

For carrying about, a candlestick needs the 
addition of a broad dish-like stand and handle, 
while the stick itself is kept low ; hardly so attract- 
ive a form as the stationary columnar table candle- 
stick, and yet having decided character and purpose 
of its own. 

Those old-fashioned and most picturesque com- 
panions of candlesticks, the snuffers, are often very 
beautiful in design, and it seems to me that, how- 
ever " improved," the wicks of modern candles still 
require some attention from them. 

The necessity of protecting light affords in lan- 
terns opportunities for the inventive adaptability 
of the designer in glass and metal. 

I met with a very pretty and original motive in 
a German museum (at Lindau) which was hexag- 
onal in form, pieces of glass fitted together by 
leads forming a globe-like body to hold the light, 
and terminating above in a neck, from which it 
hung to a bracket by a ring. It was furnished with 
a tripod stand in iron, so that it could be taken 
down and made to stand if needed. 

There is plenty qf room for invention in lanterns, 
and it seems a pity that our street lamp, which is 
practically a standard lantern, should remain so 
extremely prosaic, when it is a design so constantly 
repeated. It is not so much the plainness, since 
one needs no extraneous ornament if the purpose 




is well served by a structure of good lines. The 
necessity of cleaning the glass is probably a hin- 
drance to much variety of form in the present state 
of things, and then, too, the electric light is coming 
into general use, bringing with it an entirely fresh 
set of conditions, so that before we get our ideal 
gas-lamp the necessity for it will probably have 
disappeared altogether, so to speak. 

The idea of suspension and absence of rigidity 
or weight associated with electric lighting ought, 
one would think, to be suggestive to designers, but 
we don't seem yet to have quite shaken off the 
conditions of gas tubing on the one hand, or to have 
got much beyond the somewhat well-worn idea of 
bell-flowers bursting into incandescence on the 
other. One almost prefers the naked simplicity 
of the little pear-shaped glasses, with their incan- 
descent twist of thread suspended at the end of the 
covered wires, to the flamboyant excesses in brass 
and copper electric fitting sometimes seen. 

One might go on through the whole range of 
objects of domestic use, and multiply instances of 
beauty and designing invention applied to the 
humblest utensil, implement, or accessory, and sug- 
gested by the characteristic features stamped upon 
its form by the necessities and demands of daily 
use, which must never be lost sight of by the artist. 
Not a single thing that we touch or use but has 
had an enormous amount of human thought and 
ingenuity brought to bear upon it, which has de- 
termined its form as we see it, and which is con- 
stantly modifying form and material and character. 

The present modifying influences, the direction 
in which human ingenuity mostly seems to work 


is in the time-saving, cost-saving, labour-saving 
direction, or would-be so, and under this influence 
designs of articles or objects of pure utility have 
a tendency to become very prosaic or, perhaps, 
vulgarly assertive. It is the commercial instinct, 
no doubt, which is satisfied if a knife is a knife 
and will cut, or at any rate will sell, and puts no ro- 
mance into either blade or handle. The old curved 
blades have disappeared, and only the silver knife 
receives any ornament, and that generally of a very 
uninteresting type. This prosaic tendency repre- 
sents the mechanical side of the utility influence, 
which only reaches beauty, if beauty of line merely, 
by necessity of use ; though under what I should 
term the short-cut inspiration beauty is generally 
entirely out of the question. This is to be deplored, 
since the simplest thing of use may be just as 
well made pleasing and good in form and line, 
though that may be the only kind of beauty possible 
to it. 

When we come to pottery the utility and adapta- 
tion to service influence is very obvious. Look at 
the form of a water- vessel, a pitcher we will say, 
as a typical form. It must have a large hollow body 
to hold as much water as can be conveniently 
carried by a single person, but not more than its 
handle or handles will lift. It must have a neck 
for pouring out. A rounded form is found to be 
more convenient for carrying than a square, and is 
easier to balance in the hand or on the head. The 
soft clay, too, readily takes the circular form on 
the wheel when the pitcher is formed under the 
hands of the potter ; and the rounded form may be 
diminished towards the base, which saves weight, 


and at the same time gives opportunity for grace 
of line. Its form at once expresses its purpose of 
carrying and pouring. A nobler form is seen in 
the Greek hydria a large three-handed water- 
vessel, adapted for carrying and pouring. It was 
carried on the head or the shoulders, the two side 
horizontal handles enabled it to be lifted up and 
down, while its vertical handle served the function 
of pouring. 

We may note the similarity in contour and pro- 
portion of the Greek amphora or wine-vessel, to 
the lines of a woman's figure. It is, perhaps, 
the most graceful of the antique forms of vessels, 
and it seems dimly reflected even in the purely 
prosaic form of the modern bottle. 

We might trace through all the various forms of 
vessels the clue of utility, and note how it deter- 
mines their typical form as they are adapted, like 
the hydria or pitcher, for carrying and pouring: 
the amphora or ancient wine-bottle for keeping wine 
cool in the earth in portable quantities : the bucket 
type for dipping and carrying : the funnel type for 

The copper water-vessel of the Roman people 
seems to combine the functions of bucket and 
pitcher in a highly picturesque way, and its form 
enables a quantity to be carried on the head. 

The drinking vessel again shows quite a different 
type of form, and in all its varieties declares its 
function the cup, the glass, the tumbler, the mug, 
and the tankard. 

In the bottle we approach again the type of the 
pitcher, the holding and pouring functions being 
again emphatic, throughout all its many shapes. 









The illustration shows a selection of the typical 
forms I have mentioned. 

The subject of the typical forms of vessels is 

81 G 

very clearly illustrated in Meyer's " Handbook of 
Ornament/' to which I may refer the student who 
wishes to pursue the subject further. 

On the subject of bottles, however, I will just 


refer to a curiou * correspondence in design motive 
in two different materials. 

The ordinary Italian oil or wine flask is one of 
the most charming of modern useful vessels. It is 
simply a piece of blown glass of the form first 
assumed by the molten glass when blown at the 
end of the glass- worker's tube. To make this 


primitive but elegant bottle portable and enable it 
to stand, it is bound around by a twist of rushes, or 
cane leaves twisted into a circular stand, and 
braced by vertical broader bands of the untwisted 
leaf at intervals, and a loop of the twist is twined 
around the neck, and left free to hang up or carry 
the vessel in. The whole is both highly practical 
and picturesque. 

^ This is a type of Venetian glass bottle or decanter 
highly ornamented, in which the fundamental mo- 
tive or idea of the protecting binding of rushes 
seems to be followed in glass. The melon-like 
divisions are defined by strings of raised glass laid 
on the surface, while the panels between are 
engraved in arabesques of leaves and birds, and 
the whole forms a very pretty piece of ornate glass 
design. (See illustration, p. 83.) 

Here we have another instance of decorative 
motive derived from useful* function, and of the 
adaptation in one material of a suggestion derived 
from another, though applied to the same type of 

I have not mentioned the plate or dish type of 
vessel, which has on the whole, perhaps, received 
the most attention from the decorator of surfaces, 
perhaps on account of the more pictorial conditions 
its functional form presents. 

There is a circular flat or concave surface in the 
centre of the dish, plate, or plaque to hold the food ; 
and there is a circular space or rim for the hand, 
a border which will serve both as a frame to the 
central subject, and also to emphasize the edge. 
The Greek cylix, though really a shallow drinking 
cup, presents similar conditions to the designer, 



though more of the shallow boat or saucer type, 
and in the filling of these spaces the Greek vase- 
painter, as far as regards composition of line, 
dramatic action of figure, simplicity, and the ne- 
cessary flatness and reserve, sets us the best models 
in this kind of design. 

The Italian Renascence majolica and lustre 
ware give more sumptuous effect and more pictorial 
treatment, but are not nearly so safe a guide in 
taste as the Greek. 

In pure ornament we cannot do better than 
study oriental models for the treatment of border 
and centre, and in the blue and white ware of China 
and Persia we shall find as satisfactory examples 
of decorative fitness as need be. The Chinese 
influence is freely and often very happily rendered 
in the blue and white ware of Delft, and in some 
of the works of the old English potteries, as 
Worcester and Derby for instance. 

In textile design the functions of border, of 
field or filling, of wearing apparel, or furniture 
hangings and materials and their necessary adapta- 
tion to vertical or horizontal positions, differentiates 
the vario].ts types and classes of design in woven 
or printed stuffs. Here use again influences and 
decides decorative motive. 

We recognize at once the essential differences 
of expression in different pattern plans and systems 
of line in horizontal extension, which mark them 
off as suitable for borders demanding linear, or 
meandering, or running patterns to fulfil their 
function of defining the edge, as in 1 a garment or 
hanging, or in pottery, or forming a setting for the 
centre, as in a carpet. 


For these reasons, bearing in mind the construct- 
ive suggestion of their origin, the typical examples 


OF TM P17\T 


CH uses e. PLT\TC 

given of border systems have held their own from 
the earliest times as fundamentally adaptable to 


horizontal extension, while they also adapt them- 
selves to endless variation in design and treatment. 

Just as, for the same reasons, the systems of 
pattern adapted for indefinite extension over a 
surface (both vertically and horizontally), and re- 
presented by the plans I have termed persistent, 
have held, and still hold, their place in the world 
of design. These latter, too, it will be noticed, 
are all constructed upon, or controlled by, the same 
basisthe rectangular diaper. 

There seems something fixed and fundamental 
about these linear constructive bases of pattern 
design from the point of view of what might be 
termed decorative or linear logic, and apart from 
their origin in actual constructive necessity before 
spoken of, and, as far as soundness of principle 
can guide us in designing, we cannot go wrong in 
obeying them, however various the superstructure 
of floral fancy we may build upon them. The 
acknowledgment of the principle alone, of course, 
will not make us successful designers, any more 
than the skeleton makes a living figure. ^ We can- 
not do without thought, fancy, and vivifying im- 
agination, guided by the sense of beauty, as well 
as of use, to produce design worth having in any 

To trace out this clue of utility fully and ade- 
quately through all the varieties of the vast pro- 
vince of artistic design would need, not a single 
chapter, but a large and amply illustrated volume. 
I have only attempted to call your attention to cer- 
tain typical forms and instances where the bearings 
of the necessities of use and service have decided 
those forms, and must always influence the decora- 





tive. designer, who should never forget them for a 


Nothing has degraded the form of common 
things so much as a mistaken love of ornament. 
The production of things of beauty for ordinary 
use has declined with the gradual separation of 
artist and craftsman. Decoration, or ornament, 
we have been too much accustomed to consider as 
accidental and unrelated addition to an object, not 
as an essential expression and organic part of it ; 
not as a beauty which may satisfy MS in simple line, 
form, or proportion, combined with fitness to pur- 
pose^ even without any surface ornament at all. 
The more we are able to keep before our minds 
the place and purpose of any design we have to 
make, the more we realize the conditions of use 
and service of which it must be a part, as well as 
the capacities of the material of which it is to be 
made ; and the more we understand its constructive 
necessities, the more successful our design is likely 
to be, and the nearer we shall approach to bridging 
the unfortunate gulf which too often exists between 
the designer and the craftsman. 


WE have seen (i) that architectural considera- 
tions lie at the basis of design and control 
its general character, its scale, and relationships ; 
and (2) that utility determines and specializes its 
particular forms and functions ; now, as our third 
proposition, we may say that, in addition to these 
in limitation of material and methods of workman- 
ship, we shall find the influences which determine 
primarily the purely artistic question of treatment 
in design, and which differentiate its classes and 

If we look at a piece of stone-carving and com- 
pare it with a piece of wood-carving, for instance, 
or, still better, take mallet and chisel in hand and 
experiment upon a piece of stone or marble, and 
try to evolve or to express a form by these means, 
and with a chisel, or knife, work upon wood we 
shall soon find that the differences of the quality 
of the two substances upon which we work the 
differences of density, toughness, resistance to 
the tool at once demand different methods of 
handling each. Short, quick following strokes in 
the case of chiselling stone, and a longer, steady 
sort of pushing or driving movement, the chisel 


being held in both hands, in the case of wood: 
carving*. From such necessary and fundamental 

differences the artist would soon develop a distinct 
style in the treatment of each kind of work. He 
would not attempt to make the stone look like 


wood, or persuade the wood to look like stone ; 
but he would rather rejoice in their fundamental 
differences of quality, and make his work in each 
emphasize their essential and distinctive character- 
istics. These different characteristics are shown 
in the design and treatment of the carved stone 
corbel given, as compared with the misereres in 
wood ; the stone-work being also controlled by 
the necessity of the jointing in the masonry. 


In handling soft materials, like modelling clay, 
for instance, we encounter quite a different set of 
conditions. There is much less restriction of 
material and method, although the plasticity of 
the clay brings its own difficulties of manipulation 
with it. Modelling, indeed, it is soon perceived, 
is the reverse of carving, since in carving form is 
produced by cutting away, in modelling form is 
produced by building up (or adding to) ; surface 
being gained in the first case by delicate chiselling 
of sharp tools upon a close-grained, tough material, 


and in modelling by a delicate pressure of the 
fingers, or tools, upon a soft and sensitive clay. . 
Clay modelling, again, not being a final form, 
but rather a preparatory stage in design, bears to 
bronze, or plaster, much the same relationship as 
a design or drawing on paper for reproduction by 
a particular process bears to its finished form in 
the material for which it is intended. Clay has, it 
it is true, after firing, a permanent form in terra- 


cotta, which of course thoroughly illustrates the 
freedom and naturalism of treatment of which it is 
capable; on the one hand associating itself with 
domestic use and adornment, kindred with the 
work of the painter, and on the other uniting itself 
with architecture, and being adaptable to all kinds 
of enrichment upon brick buildings. 

The adaptability and plasticity of clay, again, 
is shown in what might be called its fundamental 
capacity as thrown upon the potter's wheel. H ere, 


under the steady revolution of the horizontal cirr 
cular disk, or wheel, controlled and held in its 
place by the left hand of the potter, while he 
manipulates and varies the form with the right, 
we see how readily the clay obeys the law of the 
circular pressure and movement, and how, in 


obedience to it, every variety of form which the 
history of pottery displays becomes possible to it 
in the hands of a skilful and tasteful craftsman. 
Manual skill of a very accomplished kind is de- 
manded in throwing, as anyone may see for himself 
by trying to form a vessel upon the wheel, simple 


as the operation looks, controlled by a purely 
mechanical movement. Then, in addition to 
dexterity in manipulating the clay and skill in 
forming the vessel truly, and of an even thick- 
ness, there is room for any amount of artistic 
judgment and taste in deciding the final form, or 
section, which the vessel shall take ; and again, in 
the design and use of such ornament as shall ex- 
press its form and office, or give it an additional 
decorative surface beauty. 

With the use of ornament, indented while our 
clay is soft, or with raised moulding and edges, or 
low relief work, we are still carrying out the 
fundamental suggestiveness of the material and 
what may be called its natural method ; and we 
find that ornamentation upon pottery in its earliest 
development took the form of indented zigzag 
borders and patterns, and to this day in some 
kinds of German pottery, and that known as Ores 
de Flandres, we find the patterns indented in out- 
line and filled afterwards with the blue colour and 
glazed ; the modern Egyptian red clay pots are 
ornamented with indented, cut, and raised patterns ; 
while in the homely brown jug of our English 
potteries, we see the application of the principle 
of relief work in the quaint figures stamped upon 
the surface, pleasing enough, though without any 
reference to classic dignity or proportion. 

There is a good instance of the pleasant use of 
stamping the pattern upon a clay vessel in this 
German pitcher from Rothenburg (see p. 87), 
bought from the workshop of the potter himself, 
who made the pots of the local clay, fired them, 
and glazed them himself, and finally was his own 


salesman an instructive combination of functions 
not often found in our own country. 

With wax, modelling can be carried to a greater 
degree of fineness and sharpness of detail, especially 


upon a small scale. It is a material, therefore, 
which lends itself to modelling for bronze and 
other fine metal castings, to metals and coinage, 
as well as to small figures, lamps, various vessels 
. 97 H 

and ornaments; and also to large scale, highly 
finished statues, especially when intended -to be 
cast by the cera perduta or lost wax method, by 
which the molten metal from the furnace is made 
to flow into the mould, to take the place of the 
wax of the model, the wax of course ^melting and 
flowing out through the vents contrived for the 
purpose. -. 

The figure is modelled in the usual way in clay 
first. Then a plaster piece-mould is taken, and 
into the inside of this, when taken off,, the wax is 
pressed, so as to line it completely. A framework 
or skeleton of iron bars having been constructed 
to support the weight, the hollow niould inside 
the wax lining or skin, which represents the thick- 
ness of the bronze statue, is then filled up with a 
core composed of brick-dust and plaster, mixed In 
a paste and poured in. The ducts to enable the 
molten bronze to flow properly into the mould are 
then arranged, with vents for the escape of the 
melted wax and air. The plaster piece-mould is 
then carefully taken off, and the statue is disclosed 
in wax. This wax surface can then be finally 
finished by the modeller before the whole statue 
is covered in with another niould made of a fine 
paste of bone ash and Tripoli powder and other 
ingredients. It is then bedded in earth or sand, 
and the bronze, being mixed and melted in the 
furnace is run out into the ducts of the mould ; 
when cool the mould is broken off, and, the bronze 
taking the place of the wax which is melted and 
escapes, the statue is. complete. 

Thus a complete and perfect casting is obtained 
of the work, it being only necessary to stop the 


places where the ducts and vents were fixed, which 
by ingenuity could be arranged to occur in the 



less important parts. Cera perduta, as its name 

1 From Mr. George SimoncTs article on " Casting in Bronze." 
"English Illustrated Magazine," 1885. 


indicates, is an old Italian method, and was used 
by Benvenuto Cellini. It has been revived by 
Mr. George Simonds, who has given an account 
of it, and by our younger school of sculptors, 
Messrs. Alfred Gilbert, Onslow Ford, Harry Bates, 
and others, in place of the method of casting with- 
out the use of the wax, which entailed a great deal 
of surface work and chasing upon the hard bronze, 
so that the delicate modelled surface the touch 
of the artist, in short was lost, but it is just this 
which is preserved by the lost wax process, so that 
it is a method which favours artistic modelling, 
since it perpetuates it in bronze with greater pre- 
cision than by the ordinary method, and does not 
require after touching in the hard. 

In iron-work we have another strictly conditioned 
kind, in which design owes its character and pecu- 
liar beauty to the necessities and limitations of the 
material and mode of working. I am speaking of 
wrought iron, and of the forms in which it is usually 
found in grills of all kinds, in gates, and railings. 
Now we may consider that the designer in iron has 
a material to deal with which is capable, under 
heat and the hammer, of obeying much invention 
and lines of grace and fancy. We start with a 
bar of iron ; we plan our main framework ; we may 
use rigid verticals and horizontals in forming our 
grill. A simple square trellis is the fundamental 
grill, but we seek more play and fancy. Our iron 
bar is capable of being twisted at its ends into 
spiral curves under heat, with the pincers, (or even 
without, if thin). It is also capable of being beaten 
out with the hammer into flattened leaf forms, 
which again, by heating, can be worked and 




elaborated, and parts joined by welding. 'in great 

1 From Mr. George Simond's article on " Casting in Bronze." 
'"English Illustrated Magazine," 1885. 


variety of form. But we may consider primarily 
that the designer in iron starts with the bar, the 
spiral curve, and the flat leaf, or even only the first 
two. These are his units out of which he constructs 
his pattern; his pencils are the hammer and pincers, 
his easel is the vice, his medium is the forge. His 
business is to make a harmony in iron, and these 
are his notes, his treble and bass. His success 
will depend, firstly, upon the effectiveness with 
which he contrives to meet the fundamental pur- 
pose of the grill or gate, that it shall be a sensible 
and practical grill or gate to begin with ; secondly, 
his lines and curves, however simple, must be har- 
moniously arranged, so that the eye is satisfied 
at the same time as the constructive sense ; and 
thirdly, any invention or play of fancy which he 
can super-add without injuring the first two con- 
siderations will be so much to the good, and to his 
credit, and the common pleasure. 

It is. well, however, to test our powers by simple 
problems at first. If we cannot combine a great 
variety of attractive forms harmoniously, and fit 
them to useful purpose, let us try what we can do 
with few and simple forms. If we fail at constructing 
gates of Paradise let us see if we cannot make a 
good railing. If we cannot invent a romantic 
knocker, let us try our hands at an effective scraper. 
It is much better to do a simple thing well, than 
a complex or ambitious thing badly; and there is 
far more need in the world for well-designed and 
beautiful common things than for elaborate excep- 
tional things. 

A study of iron-work should be useful to all 
students in design, as showing what ornamental 






effects can be gained by economy of means, the 
effectiveness of simply repeatingwell-chosen curves, 

spirals, and lines ; as well as the amount of fantasy 
and feeling- which an inventive designer and 
craftsman can put into such work in its more com- 


plex and elaborate forms, and, above all, how 
perfectly it may be' made to unite serviceableness 
and beauty ; while, perhaps more conspicuously 
than most kinds of artistic work, it illustrates the 


essential unity of material and method with their 
results in design. 

The illustrations given exemplify different varie- 
ties of treatment, and also show how design in iron- 
work, in addition to the influence of the material, 
is controlled by the spirit and period of the archi- 
tecture of which it becomes part. 



We see this in comparing the free Gothic and 
rather fantastic forms of the gates of the south 
porch of S. Laurence at Nuremberg with the 
symmetric and formal screen from S. Thomas's, 
Salisbury (seventeenth or eighteenth century), or 
both with the flowing Renascence scroll balustrade 
from Rothenburg. 

A most important branch of design is that of 
textiles, whether we regard it in its close association 
with daily life and the wants of humanity, with 
domestic comfort, personal adornment, or ecclesi- 
astical splendour. It is, perhaps, the most intimate 
of the arts of design, and here again we shall find 
the control of material and method always assert- 
ing themselves. 

Textile designing may be broadly divided into 
two main kinds : (i) that which is an incorporated 
part of the textile itself, as in woven patterns, 
carpets, and tapestry; and (2) that which is 
designed as a surface decoration to be printed or 
worked on the textile, as in cotton, cloth, cretonne, 
silk, velvet, and embroidery. 

Into the many technicalities and complexities of 
the modern power-loom it is not now necessary to 
enter ; but the main essential conditions it is always 
necessary for the textile designer to have in mind 
are that his design has to be produced by the 
crossing of threads in the loom, by warp and weft, 
as the sets of threads are called the warp being 
the vertical threads, forming the web and founda- 
tion of the fabric ; the woof or weft being the 
horizontal thread woven through it at right angles. 

In the simple low warp hand-loom, the warp 
being in two sets, the alternate threads are lifted 

1 06 


FROM ERASMU-ri-"PRW56 oFPOU-V" 167$ 









by the heddles alternately. These hedclles are 
connected with treadles worked by the feet of the 
weaver, who, with his hand, passes his shuttle 
with the woof backwards and forwards through the 
interstices thus left, and weaves the plain cloth. 
To make patterns, various wefts in different colours 
are added. This is the fundamental simple prin- 
ciple of weaving, which in a still simpler form may 
be seen in the making of tapestry and carpets in 
the high warp loom, where the threads of the warp 
are stretched vertically upon rollers in a framework, 
at which the worker sits and works in by his hands 
the different colours of the pattern horizontally, 
twisting and knotting the threads in through the 
warps on which the pattern has been marked, and 
pressing it together by a sort of comb to make it 
firm and solid ; as the fabric is completed it is rolled 
up upon the roller. 

Penelope is seen working at such a loom in a 
Greek vase painting. The simple hand-loom, as 
it was in the seventeenth century, is seen in the 
figure taken from Erasmus's " Praise of Folly." 

What chiefly concerns the designer in woven 
textiles, therefore, is that he must be prepared for 
the necessity that his design must adapt itself to 
working out upon a square trellis of horizontal and 
vertical lines, which will represent his outlines, or 
the edges of his masses, in stepped outlines and 
edges, where the design crosses the warp diagonally 
at any angle, and in straight line's where it runs 
with the warp ; since it may be said that pattern 
on woven cloth is produced by leaving out, or 
stopping out, certain threads in the wefts, disclos- 
ing one set in one place and another in another; 




such threads corresponding with the holes cut in 
the cards placed in the loom to regulate the pattern, 
which are prepared from the design, after it has 
been worked out on squared paper to calculated 
intervals and numbers of threads or points to each 
line and mass of the pattern. 

Now, so far from wishing to conceal the char- 
acteristic flatness and squareness of outline and 
mass, which the nature of the conditions of weav- 
ing normally produce, the artist values these char- 
acteristics as essential to the work, and would 
make his design adaptable to them. 

The most beautiful and decorative effects are 
produced in woven textiles by the contrast, har- 
mony, and blending of coloured threads, wool, or 
silk, and the relief of one flat colour upon another, 
or one flat tint upon another shade of the same 
tint, so that anything like attempts at naturalistic 
drawing, and the representation of planes of light 
and shade and relief can only be clumsy, owing to 
the nature of the conditions, besides being mis- 
taken, from the point of view of good pattern-work. 

There are no better masters in the selection 
and treatment of natural forms in textile design 
than the Persians, who, in their magnificent carpets, 
show both the extreme of graceful conventional 
pattern, and also a happy mean in the treatment 
of flowers, trees, and animals, exhibiting in their 
drawing and colour definite characterization rather 
than naturalism ; translating nature, as it were, 
and allying it with invention in a distinct region 
of their own. To do this is really what all 
designers should aim at, in whatsoever material 
they may work. 



When we come to the second division of textile 
design, that in which pattern is applied to the 
surface of the cloth after it has been woven, by 
means of printing, the designer is chiefly controlled 
by considerations of scale and beauty of effect, as 
he has to adapt his design to various purposes, 
such as hangings and furniture coverings, or small 
dress patterns, kerchiefs, and so forth. Beyond 
the necessary limit of size of repeat and its satis- 
factory construction, he is freer than in designing 
for woven textiles ; and, in fact, has about as much 
range as any other surface designer in colours. 

It is considered a practical and economic advan- 
tage that a design should adapt itself to printing 
in many different schemes of colour, and be capable 
of treatment on a light or dark ground. In larger 
scale patterns, such as furniture cretonnes, patterns 
or parts of patterns are produced by a mordant or 
resist ; that is to say, the light parts are printed in 
a mordant or chemical preparation which takes 
out the dye, and so discloses in those parts the 
natural colour of the cotton cloth. Similar effects 
can be produced by the reverse method of printing 
the cloth first with a resist and dyeing or printing 
the whole afterwards. 

The methods and machinery of printing cotton 
have been carried to great perfection, and the 
necessary limitations as to what effects can Qr 
cannot be" obtained are very few, what is done being 
largely regulated by considerations of cost. These 
apparent advantages, however, from the artistic 
point of view, expose us to new dangers. We may 
easily lose sight of the end in the very perfection 
of the means; the -very facility of those means may 


lead the designer to forget that, after all, he is 
designing for a textile something which will be 
hung in folds, variously draped, or worn. The desire 
to show the capacity of the method of printing a 
pattern in colours may not always be on all fours 
with the wish for tasteful design and reposeful 
effect. The fierce competition of trade, and the 
violent demands of the salesman, do not harmonize 
with the judgment of the artist. If you were in 
a company where all were talking at once at the 
top of their voices you would have to shout very 
loudly if you wanted to be heard, but no one would 
contend that these were the best conditions. for 
the human voice. It is, however, a tolerably just 
simile of the present conditions of trade and their 
effect upon design. So long as things are rnacle 
primarily to sell, rather than to last and live with, 
there will always be this difficulty and disparity 
between art and commerce ; but a school of art 
can only concern itself with what are the best 
methods, and endeavour always to set up the best 
types of design, the best standards of taste. 

If we want to represent flowers, for instance, in 
their natural superficial aspects of light and shade 
and relief, the natural form for such renderings is 
the still life study ; the natural means, the canvas, 
palette, and brushes, or Whatman and water-colour; 
the natural equipment, power of graphic drawing 
and knowledge of pictorial effect. But, whatever 
value, pictorial interest, and charm such studies 
may have, as such, with the charm of treatment, 
with the freedom of handling open to the pictorial 
artist, and with the direct personal touch, the 
value, pictorial interest, and charm and beauty 


would be entirely lost if they were done by the 
yard, and spread over acres of cotton. The 
particular conditions which give value to the in- 
dividual pictorial study become utterly lost when 
the attempt is made to produce a pattern on the 
same principles. It is neither good pattern nor 
good painting ; and the very best machine-painting 
can only give a more or less coarse rendering of 
hand-painting, and it is therefore a mistaken 
application of it to try. It requires no special 
artistic feeling or training to recognize a bunch of 
roses or poppies thrown in exaggerated relief on a 
flat surface ; but it does require both to appreciate 
a design made of the same flowers, composed and 
coloured harmoniously in an ingenious repeat, and 
drawn firmly and delicately with an understanding 
of the character and construction of the plants, yet 
treated with fancy and invention, and, at the same 
time, meeting perfectly the nature of the material 
and the method of manufacture. These qualities 
I should enumerate as the real necessities in de- 
signing for printed fabrics, whether it is cotton 
cloth printed from the pattern engraved on copper 
rollers, or furniture cretonne printed from flat 
blocks. In either case, in providing the design, 
firmness and sharpness of line would be good, and 
precision of touch in laying in the colour. 

The embroiderer, again, is comparatively free as 
to range of choice in treatment of surface design, 
which will be necessarily governed by purpose, 
position, and nature of material and method em- 
ployed. The bold design and large scale detail 
which would be suitable for bed hangings and 
curtains in crewel work, such as we find in the 





Queen Anne period, would be obviously out o-i' 
place in small panels of delicate fine silk-work. 
A greater approach to the colours and surfaces of 
nature, too, in silk-work may be attempted, as in 
the plumage of birds and the petals of flowers, as 
we see in Chinese and Japanese silk embroideries, 
though the decorative principle of shading one 
colour with other tints of the same should be fol- 
lowed when shading is used, keeping the colour 
pure and brilliant, and never using black or brown 
for shadows on colours. 

A certain natural convention, we might say, 
belongs to the conditions of material and method 
in embroidery, and is inseparable from the art of 
the expression of form by stitches. Following 
the same principle of such acknowledgment of 
necessary limitations which we find hold good in 
other decorative arts, the essential stitch method 
of the embroiderer should be rather emphasized 
than concealed, although it does not follow that in 
preparing designs to be embroidered the stitches 
need be all represented, so long as the design is 
clear and plain, and the outlines distinct ; while in 
the choice of the direction of the stitches, as well 
as in their form and character, must be found the 
particular means of expressing varieties of surface 
and characteristics of form. In making leaves, 
for instance, one would naturally make the stitches 
radiate from the centre towards the point, while 
the character of tree stems is well expressed by 
carrying the stitches crossways over others laid 
vertically first, as, in addition to the suggestion of 
lines of bark, the double row of stitches has the 
effect of suggesting the projection of a rounded 

stem. For filling in large masses, or for meander- 
ing types of patterns and scroll-work, or bold out- 
line, chain-stitch is very useful, and has a compact, 
solid effect. It is much used in Indian embroid- 
eries. The introduction of gold thread, so much 
found in all oriental embroidery, enriches and 
heightens the effects of the colours very much, 
and on the unbleached linens and muslins, where 
the pattern is quite light, it has a charming effect. 
The Japanese make very effective use of gold 
thread embroidery, in some cases carrying the 
whole of the work out in gold upon a dark ground, 
or using it as a partial enrichment on printed 
textiles such as kimonos or robes ; in other kinds, 
notably in dark, rich, full-coloured embroidered 
hangings, by introducing disks of gold thread, 
formed by stitching the thread down upon the 
ground in closely twisted spiral forms, which catch 
the light very effectively when hung upon the 

There is, indeed, in the embroiderer's art im- 
mense range of both treatment and subject. It 
may be light and delicate, and restricted to one or 
two colours, or vie ih fulness, richness, and depth 
of colour and splendour of effect with tapestry it- 
self. It may adorn a child's quilt, or decorate an 
altar ; it may touch the hem of a garment, or 
inform the cover of a book ; nothing seems to be 
above or below it ; and throughout its manifold 
adaptations it offers an attractive field to the de- 
signer and the worker who is not afraid of patient 
but not unrewarding labour. 

As further exemplifying the influence of mate- 
rial and method, I may just touch upon another 


art, in our days the most popular and far-reaching, 
perhaps, of all -the art of design in black and 
white for the book and the newspaper. 

6t ct(?c bqpmlid) ffbembgt* o&ee 

bott fwmpt gcritten /\m& ftgt auff 
ante 2Dcomcoati/vn i/l mit gulfcim 
angtle^t t)n futt auff tie 

l)jlm cine pf flbn/m Sic fcbil t efnen ^&la T|n Dem pana 



Now, the early woodcut as we find it In the 
printed books of the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies owed its forms and qualities to the necessi- 
ties of surface printing with types in a hand-press. 
The vigorous, bold drawing with the pen on the 


wood-block was cut by the engraver with a knife 
and on the plank, not as now, upon the cross 
section of the box tree : softer wood, too, was at 

first probably 
& auf usec l. The en- 

aSSS " knife 

Ittide et 

left the artist's 

fdfdtt" line firmer, 
perhaps, than 
5 it was drawn,- 
and the design 
ens; fa a in vigorous 
CC102 ol* open u ne was 

mtaOMtt A T , 

exactly adapt- 

co:da mefta-Salue gtta Dfem: 

pressure as 
the type had 
to undergo. 
The two were 
in true me- 
>jefu0 chanical rela- 
. i^~^~ , v** tion, and also 
S: E MlE*!?f in true artistic 

2W facrariitimi merira fiu'ofk; t B tua le 

(STRASSBURG, 1511). 

relation. The 
d e co ra t i ve 
effect of the 
early printers' 
pages is re- 

markably fine, and is obtained by very simple 

With the decline of the severe and vigorous 
drawing of the great designers of the late Gothic 
and early Renascence period, and probably also 


with the invention of copper-plate engraving and 
printing, and the more rapid production of books, 
the art of the book printer declined, and the art of 
the book decorator with it ; and although the wood- 
cut still held its place, and was largely used for the 
next two centuries, and, indeed, down to our own 
time, in book ornaments, initial letters, and illustra- 
tions, it had fallen into inferior hands. 

At the end of last century a sort of revival took 
place under Thomas Bewick and his school, which 
led, not to a revival of the firm and open linear 
drawing of the designers of the early printers, but 
rather to a search after extra fineness and qualities 
of tone and colour, hitherto associated with steel 
or copper-plate. This tendency or aim of the 
engravers, however, only served to put the wood- 
cut out of relation with the type, and the type 
itself grew uglier, and was hardly considered as 
part of the artistic character of the book. William 
Blake seems to have been the only artist who 
made any attempt to consider the necessary re- 
lation of ' illustratioMland type, but. he did it by 
means of copper-plalte^knd writing his own letter- 

It is only recently that a serious effort has been 
made to re-establish the old relationship between 
design and text in surface printing and as applied 
to books. Our newspapers and illustrated journals 
still print heavy black blocks, reproduced from 
wash drawings, along with thin pale type; and the 
tendency of the recent new photographic processes 
of reproducing the designs of artists has rather 
been to dislocate the decorative feeling and the 
relationship of type and picture aforesaid, by 


imposing no restrictions of material or method 
in preparing- drawings for the press. We have 

CJkise not slumb er \ 

t All tke cWelilce mo an lb e^il eH 


now, however, a school of printers and designers 
in black and white who do consider decorative 


effect in printing and in the design of the printed 

Mr. William Morris, by his personal experiment 
and practice of printing, approaching it from the 
designer's point of view, has again placed the 
printing of books in the position of an art. By 
practical demonstration in the beautiful results 
of his work in the beautiful books he issued 
from the Kelmscott Press- he has shown us what 
very fine decorative effects can be got by careful 
consideration of the form of the letters, by the 
placing of the type upon the page, by the use of 
good handmade paper, by the use. of ornaments 
and initial letters of rich and bold design, harmon- 
izing with the strength and richness of the type 
(which makes the ordinary types look pale and 
thin). His work, too, is obviously influencing 
printers and publishers generally, so that something 
like a renascence in printing and in design and 
decoration in black and white has been going on 
during the last few years. 

Certainly a return to the practice of drawing in 
line is good, not only as a test of design and 
draughtsmanship, and absolutely necessary to all 
designers, but also as essential to designs or 
illustrations intended to contribute to the decorative 
character of the printed page. 

In the various instances, therefore, to which I 
have drawn attention, we have seen that design in 
its many forms and applications must be reconciled 
to certain limitations of material and method ; but 
that, so far from these limitations being a hindrance 
to harmonious expression or to beauty of result, 
they themselves, by their very nature, if properly 


understood and frankly acknowledged, lead to 
those very results of beauty and harmonious 
expression which come of that perfect unity of 
design, material, and method it is the object of all 
decorative art to attain. 


IN the previous three chapters we have been 
considering Design under various conditions 
of use and material. The present may be consid- 
ered as a continuation of the same line of thought 
in somewhat different directions. 

We may consider conditions in the general 
sense as those general aesthetic laws governing the 
place and purpose of designs, and their position in 
relation to the eye and hand, such as height, plane 
of extension, and scale ; or in the more particular 
sense which includes all these, as well as more 
strict technical conditions which, being accepted 
by the artistic faculty, influence the form and 
character of all design, the object being, of course, 
the attainment of the greatest beauty consistent 
with such conditions. 

All design is necessarily conditioned, from the 
purely graphic and pictorial to the most abstract 
forms of decoration. We cannot set pencil to 
paper even without committing ourselves to a kind 
of compact with conditions. Here is a white ex- 
panse a plain surface ; here is something to make 
black marks with. 

The artistic realization of or presentment of our 
thought, or our rendering of a piece of nature or 


/' . 9 




of art will depend upon our frank acceptance of the 
natural limits of the capacity of pencil and paper 
of plane, surface, line, and tint as conditions of 
representation, and on our faithfulness to them, 
by means of which we shall attain the most truth 
and beauty in drawing. 

It Is the recognition of this which gives distinc- 


tion to all drawing, according to the individuality, 
invention, and character of the artist. We recog- 
nize his style and personality by his manner of 
dealing with the conditions of the work, and no- 
where does this come out more emphatically than 
when those conditions are reduced to the simplest. 
So that in a line drawing in pen or pencil, in the 
economy of the means, and in. the skill and mastery 


by which facts of nature, character, life, action, or 
beauty of line and ornamental effect are rendered 
by the simple use of outline, or tint, or solid 
black, we can recognise the artist -of power just as 
clearly as we recognize a friend's handwriting. 

The suavity and grace of Raphael, the energy 
of Michael Angelo, the learning and finish of 


Leonardo, the sculptor-like definition of Mantegna, 
the firmness and care of Diirer, the breadth and 
richness of Holbein ; all these qualities come out 
clearly enough in the studies and drawings of these 
masters in pen, pencil, and chalk. For beauty of 
style, treatment, and decorative feeling in pencil 
and chalk, perhaps few come near the studies of 
our modern master, Burne-Jones. 




In making studies, too, another condition comes 
in, important enough in its effects that of time, 
In general practice no means to ends are more 
useful than rapid sketches and notes of passing 
actions and transient effects. In order to seize the 
essential facts quickly great economy of means is - 
necessary, and practice and experience alone can 
teach us facility in selecting the leading points and 
most expressive lines. Given a limited time in 
which to note facts, the problem is how to set 
down the most truth in the simplest and most 
forcible way. 

The conditions which govern the making of a 
sketch or study upon paper are sufficient as tests 
of artistic capacity, of draughtsmanship, of taste, 
and the other fine qualities which go to the making 
of a work of art, having what may be termed an 
independent or individual interest and value ; but 
in adapting any kind of design to a definite orna- 
mental purpose other conditions immediately come 
into play over and above those belonging to the 
conditions of draughtsmanship alone, conditions 
which at once influence the style of draughtsman- 
ship and determine the treatment. 

Again, everyone who. attempts designs for dif- 
ferent kinds of decorative purpose, for different 
materials, for different planes of extension, for 
different positions and uses, must perceive that 
such considerations are important factors in deter- 
mining the plan, construction, and spirit of the 

The ornamental conditions, for instance, which 
govern the design of wall-papers and hangings, 
demand patterns which climb upwards and spread 






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laterally without any apparent effect or flaw in the 
repeat. Frieze designs, again, demand horizontal 
extension and definite rhythm, which latter is an 
important element in all border design. 

Designs for extension upon floors and pave- 
ments, where the effect of perspective distorts 
forms as they recede from the eye, require their 
own special planning and treatment, square, circu- 
lar, diamond, and fish-scale plans being generally 
the safest, as bases, since they preserve their form 
in perspective better than irregular non-geometric 
or more complex plans. 

Much the same kind of considerations control 
ceiling decoration, where, in addition, suggestions 
may be taken from constructive conditions, as, in 
flat ceilings, the design following parallel beams and 
joists and their interstices ; the panelled arrange- 
ment of a coffered ceiling ; or radiating spring of 
lines from constructive centres, as in vaulted ceilings. 

Where a pattern will be broken by deep folds, 
as in textiles, in hangings, and curtains, the con- 
ditions favour the recurrence of bold masses, richer 
points, and more strongly defined forms, at intervals, 
than would be agreeable in a pattern for extension 
on a plane surface, unless we except carpets, where 
boldness of form and richness of colour are de- 

Such conditions as these influence every depart- 
ment of decorative design, and in proportion to 
the completeness with which they are satisfied will 
depend the success of designs ; and a design which 
may have less actual beauty, perhaps, than another, 
but which completely fulfils the conditions of its 
existence, is likely to have a longer life. 




The persistence of certain well-known types of 
pattern is probably due to this such as the con- 
tinual reappearance of the Greek fret in various 
forms as a border design in all sorts of work. 

Questions of scale in design are less absolute, 
perhaps, since, though one may say as a rule that 
large types of design and detail belong to large 
rooms and large scale buildings, there may be in- 
teresting exceptions, when large patterns might 
suit even in a small room, if a particular artistic 
effect were sought. 

The . main condition in the matter of scale 
appears to be that we cannot afford to ignore the 
average human standard. As we may say that 
the human frame itself contains the elements and 
principles of all ornamental design, so its propor- 
tions and scale control the proportions and scale 
of all design. Objects intended for human use 
and service are bound to be of certain fixed or 
average sizes seats and couches about eighteen 
inches from the ground, for instance; ordinary 
domestic doors not much over six feet high, and 
three feet six inches or four feet wide. The size 
of casements, again, is strictly related to the power 
of the hand to open them ; while the sizes of all 
movable objects of use are in like manner strictly 
governed by the average size, height, and strength 
of mankind. 

Pursuing the influence of such conditions, we 
find that there are in every direction natural limita- 
tions in every department of design : in the first 
place of scale and position in relation to eye and 
hand, in the second place of method and material. 

Take the page of a printed book, for instance. 



The body of type impressed upon the paper, gives 
the proportions and dimensions of the page. The 
double page, when the book is opened to show 
the right and left hand pages (or recto and verso, 
as they are termed), is the true unit, not the single 

The type should be placed so as to leave the 
narrowest margin at the top and the inside, the 
broader on the outside, and the broadest of all at 
the foot. And this for obvious reasons, since in 
holding a book in our hand we naturally want the 
type brought well under the eye, the pages being 
set as close together as the necessities, of joining 
down the middle will allow conveniently, so that 
the eye need not have to jump across a large 
brook of margin in travelling from one to the 
other, while the deep margin below enables the 
book to be held in the hand well set up before the 
eye, without touching the type. 

I n taking up a book with the intention of decorat- 
ing or illustrating it, we must accept frankly these 
conditions, which indeed are, properly considered, a 
substantial help to the artist, just as the necessities 
of the ground plan give suggestions for the eleva- 
tion in architectural design. These conditions, we 
may take it, are the architectural conditions of 
book-page construction. 

The size, then, of our page-panel being fixed, 
as well as the page of type necessary to the book 
(sizes of books are, of course, determined by fold- 
ing of the paper folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo, 
and so on), we are free to dfeal with it decoratively 
in a variety of ways, subject only to the ac- 
knowledgment of the essential condition that it ^ 


a book-page, and not a random sheet of paper to 
make blots of ink upon or a stereoscope, or a 
card-basket, for instance, as some modern treat- 
ments of illustration in books suggest. 

We may use the whole page for the design, 
surrounding it with a line or border. Or for the 
sake of richer and more ornate effect, while con- 
fining our picture or illustration to the limits of 
the type-page, we may use our margin for a decora- 
tive framework or border. As also in using orna- 
mental initial letters the side borders can beutilizecl 
for ornaments branching up and down from the 
letter to emphasize the chapter or paragraph, in 
the manner of mediaeval illuminated MSS., and 
in the way adopted by William Morris in his 
Kelmscott Press books. 

Or, again, limiting our decoration to the actual 
type-page, we may divide the page at the opening 
of a chapter by a frieze-shaped panel or heading 
across the top, placing the initial letter below ; or 
insert a picture in the text, occupying a half-page 
or quarter-page ; or at the endingv of a chapter 
design a tailpiece to fill the page where the type 
ends, treating any space within the limits of the 
type-page, which the type does not occupy, as a 
field for design, or placing one's pictures and orna- 
ments in the midst or in place of the type. 

The title-page, again, is capable of an immense 
variety of treatment, and great ornamental use can 
always be made of the lettering, whether accom- 
panied by design or not. 

I think, too, that it is obvious that the conditions 
of surface printing point to line-drawing as the 
most harmonious in effect for book illustration and 






decoration, as well as most practical mechanically, 
since type and blocks which decorate a page must 
be subjected to the same pressure. The form of 
letters, too, in movable type, being linear, whether 
Gothic or Roman letters, line-drawing is in direct 
decorative relation with the type. 

In proportion to the solidity or heaviness of the 
letters, too, as a general principle, stronger effects 
of black and white may be ventured on, while if 
the type is light and elegant, finer and more open- 
like work would be the most harmonious treatment 
With the use of handmade paper, again, upon 
which a printed book always looks best, openness 
of line is a necessary condition in design work to 
be reproduced as surface printing blocks with the 
type, since the quality of the paper requires con- 
siderable pressure to bring up bright impressions, 
and under such pressure (with the grain and rough 
surface of the paper, which gives the richness to 
the lines and blocks of type or woodcut) fine and 
broken lines would print up too strong, and not 
look well. Pen or brush drawing, therefore, in firm 
and unbroken lines is the most adapted to the con- 
ditions in this case because they work and look the 
best, and lead to a distinct character and style. 

Nothing looks worse, to my mind, than heavy 
toned and realistically treated wash drawings used 
with a thin and light type, such as we constantly 
see in newspapers and magazines. 

The facility of the photographic processes for 
reproducing drawings of all kinds (as well as the 
decline of printing as an art before that, and the 
decline of good facsimile engraving), have no doubt 
tended to destroy the sense of style and harmony 


Chapter IL Gvil tidings come to band at Cleve- 

OTT long bad be worked ere be 
beard tbe sound of borsc/boofs 
once more, and be looked not 
up, but said to himself, "It is 
but tbe lads bringing bach tbe 
teams from tbe acres,and riding 
fast and driving bard for joy 
of heart and in wantonness of 

youth" jJFBut tbe sound grew nearer and be look- 
ed up and saw oyer the turf wall of tbe gartb the 






SACRED hunger of ambitious mindes, 

And impotent desire of men to raine! 

Whom neither dread of God, that devils bmdes, 

Norlawes of men, that common-wealescontaine, 

Nor bands of nature, that wilde beastes resrraine, 

Can keepe from outrage and from doing wrong, 

Where they may hope a kingdome to obtaine : 

No faithe so firme, no trust can be so strong, 

No love so lasting then, that may enduren long. 

Witnesse may Burbon be ,- whom all the bands 
Which may a Knight assure had surely bound, 
Until! the love of Lordship and of lands 
Made him become most faithless and unsound : 
, And witnesse be Gerioneo found, 

Who for like cause faire Beige did oppresse, 
And right and wrong most cruelly confound : 
And so be now Grantorro, who no lesse 
Then all the rest burst out to all outragiousnesse. 




in combining text and illustration, since the two 
have come to be considered so entirely apart; but 
of late years there have been many indications of 
a return to sounder taste, which is sure to influence 
the printer's and illustrator's art more and more 

From books let us turn for further illustration 
to another source of illumination, namely, windows ; 
where, in the design of leaded and stained glass, 
we shall find examples of another strictly con- 
ditioned and very beautiful province of design. 

In the course of its historical development 
stained glass seems to show much the same or 
corresponding general characteristics at different 
periods as to style, as may be traced in other 
branches of art. The windows of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries were characterized by geo- 
metric pattern, and made up of small pieces of 
glass, the figure subjects small, set in geometric 
inclosures or quatrefoil panels and showing Byzan- 
tine influence in their treatment. 1 It may be, too, 
that the windows of the early Gothic period were 
influenced by the rich mosaic work of the Byzantine 
artists, but in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, 
as windows became larger and more important 
features in architecture, and stone tracery enabled 
very large openings to be filled with coloured and 
leaded glass, both the figures and the pieces of 

1 I give some reproductions from photographs of the beauti- 
ful fragments from the Sainte Chapelle, now in the South 
Kensington Museum, as types of the earlier glass, and from 
Winchester College for the later, and two cartoons of Ford 
Madox Browfi's as examples of good modern design, showing 





. ! r I 


>i-.i 3 Cir J y :< ' I 




glass became larger, the general design, more 
pictorial, till in the early sixteenth century we get 
perspectives and heavily-shaded figures, and large 
masses of light and dark, until the art perished in 
eighteenth century transparencies. 

It perished because the essential fundamental 
conditions were ignored or not made important 
decorative use of. Leading, instead of being re- 
garded as the backbone of the design, its funda- 
mental anatomy, and essential decorative as well 
as mechanical characteristic, was rather looked 
upon as an awkward if necessary interruption in 
the picture, and the glass-painter, in endeavouring 
to follow the painter on canvas in his effects of 
relief and chiaroscuro, lost all the peculiar beauty 
and character of his own art without gaining the 
distinction of the one he would fain have rivalled. 1 

It has only been by artists going back to the 
fundamental conditions, and keeping faith with 
them, that a revival of glass-painting has taken 
place in our time. 

Now we might divide design in glass into two 
parts : 

1. Design in lead line. 

2. Design in coloured light. 

1 Winston, in his well-known work on glass-painting, a very 
good and particular account both of the characteristic liistoric 
periods and the methods and materials of glass-painting, says ; 
"In the eighteenth century glass was painted with enamels, 
very much as canvas is with oil colours, that is to say, in little 
patches, and the shadows were not produced merely with enamel 
brown, but with deeper tints of various local colours. In this 
way the shadows are almost imperceptibly blended with the 
lights, scarcely any part of the glass being left perfectly free of 
colour, or the marks of the brush." 



145 T. 


Both demand the full light of the sky to do them 
justice, but especially the colour work, and there- 
fore can only effectively be used for windows 
placed high, or above the level of the eye, in the 
wall like church windows, for it is only the full 
strength of light which brings out the full beauty 
and depth which the best work in glass always 
possesses ; and in some qualities of glass, indeed, 
only full sunlight will discover their inner heart of 
jewel-like colour. 

Very beautiful effects in window glazing are 
produced by patterns formed of plain leads, and 
their value has of late been perceived by archi- 
tects, who largely use them in domestic work. 
Either seen from within or without the effect is 
pleasant, and suggests a sense both of comfort 
and romance which refuse to be associated with 
large blank squares of plate glass and heavy sash 
windows, which require a Samson or a Sandow 
to lift. 

Inside, the effect of large panes of plate glass 
is cold. Outside, it forms great holes in the 
architecture, but, with the use of leads, if the 
opening is large, there need be scarcely any diminu- 
tion of light inside, while the network of lead 
forms a pleasant relief to the window surface and 
unites it by pattern with the architecture of the 

The pliant grooved strip of lead, then, is the 
glass designer's outline. With it he weaves his 
plain pattern, which he can enrich with spots of 
colour or by jewels of light in escutcheons and 
roundels; and when he comes to planning an 
elaborate figure panel he is bound to contrive a 





well-constructed basis of leading to hold his colour 
and form together, and by means of its bold black 
bounding lines to define the masses of his pattern, 
each different tint of glass being inclosed by a lead 
line, and shading, faces, hands, and small details 
being added with brush drawing in brown upon 
the coloured glass. 

Apart from good design, well-planned leading 
and colour scheme, nearly everything depends 
upon the careful choice of tint in the glass itself, 
and immense pains and trouble are well spent in 
this way, since beauty of total effect, as well as 
particular harmonies, depend upon choice of the 
degree, depth, and quality of the coloured glass. 

Now glass for colour work, called antique, is 
made in small sheets about 22 in. x 17 in. The 
sheets of one maker do not exceed 8 in. x 5 in. 
They may be classified as tints and whites. These 
form the palette of the stained glass artist, and 
furnish him with an immense range of tint and 
tone from which to select. But these, again, are 
divisible into two sorts: (i) what is called />#/- 
metal self-colours, or sheets that are of the same 
metal throughout; and (2) that known %s flashed, 
that is, when a thin skin of ruby, gold, pink, or 
blue is flashed upon a sheet of blue, white, pink, 
or amber. This flash may be lightened or removed 
at pleasure by fluoric acid. 

The object of the maker of these small sheets 
of glass is to get as much variety as possible, not 
only in light and dark, which in the pot-metals is 
due to the varying thickness of the sheet, and in the 
flashed colours to the varying thickness of the flash, 
but in some cases a mixture of two or more colours 


in the same sheet, by which it will be seen that 
no two sheets even out of the same pot of metal 
are alike. It is the use of this variety and un- 
expectedness that are amongst the charms of 
stained glass. 

We speak of stained glass ', but in reality there is 
only one stain, properly speaking; other colours 
used on glass are enamels, the real colour being 
incorporated in the glass when made (pot- metal 
or flashed), and not painted on. This stain is a 
preparation of silver, and is mixed with a vegetable 
colour, yellow lake, to weaken it. It is principally 
used upon the whites to stain diapers, hair, etc., 
and when fixed in the kiln the yellow lake is burnt 
away, leaving a slight residue which is easily re- 
moved, and the silver is vitrified into the glass, 
the depth of yellow being varied according to the 
strength of the stain and the susceptibility of the 

In setting to work to design a stained glass 
window, it is usual first to make a coloured design 
to scale i J inch to the foot is the best. 

A window may be composed of one light or of 
many, each separate panel inclosed by the masonry 
or mullions being termed 'a light. The question 
of treatment of subject as a single design extending 
across several lights, or as separate panels, must 
depend first upon the particular subject, or subjects, 
to be treated, then the scale of the window, and the 
general character of the architectural setting. 

Supposing it is a subject like the Nativity, with 
the Adoration of the Magi, it would lend itself to 
treatment as a single subject extending across 
several lights, and to great richness and splendour 


of colour. The colour design in such a case would 
be the most important, but, as I have before said, 
it must be perfectly combined with, and built upon, 
a well-designed network of lead lines, those lines 
forming themselves essential elements in the de- 
sign, defining the forms in bold outline, and uniting 
and giving value to the masses of colour. For 
while we may separate the problem into two parts, 
the design of lead lines and colour design, the 
window must be conceived as a whole, not merely 
as composition in line to be tinted. 

Having made our scale sketch, the next step is 
to work out the full-sized cartoons, which, of course, 
demand more attention to drawing and detail. 
Many artists make as many elaborate studies for 
figures, drapery, and details as they would for a 
highly- wrought picture in oil, or mural painting. 
As a matter of fact, however, though any amount 
of good drawing and invention may be put into 
glass design, it should not be forgotten that beauty 
of pattern and effect and symbolic suggestion are 
the objects and not pictorial naturalism. 

For main definition in the design the essential 
lead line is all important. It would not do to 
sketch in a figure in a casual way, and. then sur- 
mount it with lead lines ; it should be carefully 
considered as a piece of bold and massive outline 

In leading we may use a bolder line for bound- 
ing and defining the main masses, and a thinner 
sort for subsidiary fittings ; in this much will depend 
upon the scale of the work. The lead, which has 
a double groove, may be said to serve several 
functions. Its primary office is to hold the pieces 




of glass together : it forms the linework of the 
design, surrounding the figures and forms, separat- 
ing them frorii each other and the background, as 






well as defining the secondary forms, as of drapery 
and other detail. Then, too, the lead joints ease 
the cutting of awkward shapes in the glass, which 
however should be avoided in planning the cartoon. 
Again, it may be used to obtain greater variety into 
large masses, as a piece of drapery, for instance. 

The cartoon being made, the next thing is to 
make the working drawing. This is done by laying 
a semi-transparent piece of paper over the cartoon, 
and tracing merely the lead lines and thus obtaining 
the skeleton of the window. 

The glass is cut from this drawing, the cutter 
cutting the glass just within the lines, thus allowing 
for the heart of lead. The same drawing serves 
also for the lead worker -to glaze the finished work 

The shapes of the whites and light colours are 
seen when the sheets are laid on the drawing ; but 
the shapes of the dark colours, through which it is 
impossible to see the lead lines, must be obtained 
in another way. 

The best way is to cut the shape in thin sheet 
glass, which is then placed on the dark sheet of 
antique glass held up to the light, and moved about 
until the most suitable part of the sheet is found. 
They are then laid on the bench together, and the 
piece of sheet glass is pounced with a small bag of 
fine whitening, which, when removed, leaves its 
shape on the dark sheet to be followed by the 
cutter's diamond. 

We now come to the all-important task of select- 
ing the glass. 

The ordinary trade way of doing this is to 
number the outline, which indicates to the cutter 


certain racks correspondingly numbered containing 
the different colours. But if it is to be really care- 
ful artistic work the designer ought himself -to 
select each piece for his work. 

The principle and idea of colour in glass design, 
dealing as the artist does with pure translucent 
colour, is necessarily distinct from those obtaining 
in other kinds of painting, such as mural, when 
opaque colours and a variety of half-tones are used. 
The glass designer does not attempt to shade his 
figures and draperies by the light and dark parts 
of a sheet of coloured glass. H e desires to express 
the jewel-like quality the quintessence of colour 
in every piece of glass by the force of contrast, 
not in the juxtaposition of dark and light pieces 
of one colour merely, but by the bold arrangement 
of various colours, having the effect of one, but 
with a richness and sonorousness that the single 
tint does not possess. 

For example, in a yellow drapery we should 
take a rich decided yellow as keynote. Obviously 
if the adjoining pieces were of the same colour, 
the effect would be flat and tame ; but if we take 
a low toned yellow or neutral colour, the keynote 
will be screwed up to concert pitch, as it were, 
and if the neutral colour is followed by a reddish 
tone of yellow and that by another variation of 
yellow, that again by a decided green, and so on, 
we shall achieve that desideratum in stained glass 
variety in unity. 

The general effect will be warmer or colder as 
reddish or greenish tones predominate in the 
scheme. Care, of course, must be taken to bring 
these contrasted even discordant component 


parts into a harmonious whole : indeed every piece 
should be selected, not only to agree with and 
help its neighbour, but with reference to the 
harmony of the whole. Any undue abruptness 
of contrast may be brought into sufficient relation 
by the after painting. 

The white must be treated in the same way, a 
mixture of warm and cold tints as a rule, the general 
effect of each mass being made warmer or colder 
as found necessary. Great care must be taken 
with the masses of white to prevent them looking 
like holes in the window: for instance, a white 
coming next to a dark colour would have to be a 
tint (or very low in tone, as we should say in paint- 
ing) to hold its proper place. Only by actual ex- 
perience, however, can the artist learn how one 
colour affects another, and how certain combinations 
will look in their place. 

We have now reached the painting stage. All 
the glass has been cut and laid out on the outline. 
It is now looked over to see if there are any pieces 
that will not stand the fire that is, that would 
change colour or lose brilliance. The gold pinks, 
brown rubies, and some sorts of pure ruby are liable 
to do this. Pieces of plain sheet glass may there- 
fore be cut to the same shape to paint on, to be 
afterwards glazed behind the coloured pieces, so 
that the full brilliance is preserved. 

The wings of the angel in the panel by Mr. 
J. S. Sparrow (to whom I am indebted for this 
detailed account) have been treated in this 

The outline was made in colours ground in 
turpentine, fattened and made workable with japan- 




ner's gold-size, in order to stand the matte of 

water-colour to be added afterwards. 

When the figure is drawn in this way all the 
pieces are stuck upon an easel glass (a large stout 
piece of sheet) with a composition of bees-wax and 
resin. As this is the first time all the pieces have 
been seen together the panel is carefully looked 
over, as a whole, to see that each piece is of a right 
colour and value. Some pieces may have to be 
cut over again ; others strengthened or. modified 
by the addition of another piece of glass. This last 
method is called plating, by which rich and beauti- 
ful deep toned effects can be produced.^ 

A strong flat matte of water-colour is now laid 
all over the figure. This forms the half-tones, 
and the lights are taken out (when dry) with hog- 
hair brushes, the colour being first loosened by 
modelling the broad lights with the finger, which 
indeed is the best implement, and as much of the 
modelling should be done by it as possible. 

A quill may be used to take out sharp lights. 
The work should now be ready for the kiln, but 
before firing it should be again stuck up, and 
looked over, and any strengthening or definition 
added in shadows on details by oil-colour with 
the addition of fat turpentine to keep it open ; the 
dry surface of the glass being first treated with a 
wash of oil of tar to make the colour flow easily. 

Then the diapers and hair are stained on the 
back of the glass, and it is ready for the kiln. 

After being leaded up, the leads soldered to- 
gether at the junctions, the panel is again placed 
on the easel, and further alterations or improve- 
ments may be made, as the leaded panel looks 


very different from the glass by Itself. The panel 
is next cemented, the leads filled up with putty or 
cement to make it firm and water-tight. The 
cement is like a very thick paint, a mixture of 
white lead, whitening, red lead, lamp-black, dryers 
and raw and boiled oil. 

The window may require to be supported by 
horizontal iron bars, if it extends over two feet. 
They are usually placed about fifteen inches apart, 
as the leaded glass might bend under the pressure 
of wind without extra support 

From this account we may realize what care 
and taste are necessary to carry out really artistic 
work in stained glass. The whole subject affords 
us a good illustration of one of the highest and 
most beautiful of the arts of design, severely con- 
trolled by well-defined conditions conditions 
which, if followed faithfully, give it all its peculiar 
character, strength, and beauty. The necessities 
of leading and cutting the glass demand a certain 
severity and simplicity of design from which a 
new beauty is evolvfed, capable in its turn of in- 
fluencing other forms of art 'for good, as in easel 
painting which harmonizes with its symbolic and 
religious intention as well as with the architectural 
and monumental character of its surroundings in 
its noblest forms in public and college halls and 
churches ; while its glow and colour, suggestive 
symbolism, or heraldic adornment, may cheer and 
vivify domestic interiors with a touch of poetry 
and romance. 


WE have seen how largely Design in its 
manifold forms has been influenced by 
various physical conditions and necessities, and in 
pursuing the subject we can hardly fail to note 
that, outside those more strictly defined technical 
conditions we have been considering, there are 
certain broad controlling influences which have 
determined, and still determine, essential differ- 
ences of character as between the products of one 
country and another ; differences which, despite 
the complex network of international commerce 
and exchange, tending ever to obscure and confuse 
those native and natural differences by mixture 
and fusion, still persist. Indeed, as Manchester 
manufacturers and merchants well know, in the 
matter of pattern and colour they have to be taken 
into serious account, since we have unfortunately 
taken upon ourselves the responsibility -of supply- 
ing Eastern markets, substituting our own ideas 
of pattern and colour in fabrics for "the original 
native ones or rather, sending back to the native 
Chinese and Indian second-hand notions of their 
own colours and patterns. 


Now to what principal cause may we trace these 
broad differences in the choice and treatment of 
colour and design in different countries those 
variations which enable us to assign each to its 
native home, north, south, east, or west, upon this 
parti-coloured globe of ours ? 

If we were to endeavour to mark upon a chart 
in some bright colour, say red or yellow, all those 
countries where, given a certain organized social 
life of civilization of some kind, bright sunshine 
was the rule, and indicate proportionally its lesser 
degrees in others, we should get a vivid notion of 
the general distribution of the colour sense : we 
should naturally come to the conclusion that it is 
to the source of all our life, light, and heat to the 
sun that we must also trace our colour sense, 
which is a part of the sense of sight itself. It is 
to the influence of sunlight, direct or indirect, and 
to its prevalence in a greater or lesser degree in 
different countries, then, that we may attribute the 
differences of taste and feeling for colour and 
pattern which mark the different quarters of the 
inhabited earth. 

We know how we are affected by the absence 
or presence of sunlight in our own country, and by 
a heavy or light atmosphere, and are sensitive to 
the changes of the weather, which no doubt have 
their influence upon our work, and we know how 
different colours look in different degrees and 
qualities, of light. 

We have only to follow the pattern book of 
Nature herself, indeed, and see how distinctly she 
paints upon the globe the different zones of climate 
in different coloured flowers, birds, and animals 

161 M 


corresponding with those differences ; or follow 

her system of coloration in the ordinary procession 

of the seasons, without going out of our own 


With the return of the sun and lengthening 
days and the new awakening of life in the spring, 
a delicate bloom overspreads the landscape, the 
dark wintry woodlands burst into blossoms and 
clouds of foliage, taking every tint, from the palest 
green to delicate amber and red; while the meadows 
show the rich moist green of new springing grass, 
embroidered with flowers, yellow, white, and blue ; 
and the blue sky seems to repeat itself in the 
copses where the hyacinths grow. Gradually, as 
spring turns to summer, the colours deepen, the 
greens of trees and grass grow fuller, the flowers 
grow brighter and more varied in hue, crimsons 
and reds and purples are seen, and gardens become 
feasts of colour ; and as the cornfields ripen scarlet 
poppies mingle with the gold, and the leaves of 
the trees, having reached their darkest tint, as 
autumn nears, become tinged with yellow and 
brown, and, before they fall, turn into wonderful 
harmonies of russet and gold, in part recalling, 
though in lower tones, some of the colours of 

The ripe fruit in the orchards gives a deeper 
note of richer and brighter colour, when the pro- 
cession of flowers has reached the threshold of 
winter, bare and cold, though not colourless its 
colours being more metallic the silver of frost 
and mists, and the ruddy gold of the winter sun 
gilding the black trees, whereon mosses and lichens 
take the place of leaves and flowers, and sombre 



yews and hollies and firs, instead of the bright 
greens of spring, until the whole is veiled in ice 
and snow. 

This drama of expressive colour is enacted be- 
fore our eyes every year those of us, at least, 
who are fortunate enough to live in the country, 
and are observers ; and even to town dwellers the 
tale of colour to a certain extent is told by the 
importation of flowers, or even by the textiles in 
drapers' windows, or costumes in the street, as 
humanity responds to the approach of the sun by 
wearing lighter and fairer colours in the spring 
and summer, and getting darker and more sombre 
again in the autumn and winter. 

We have only to glance at the various manifes- 
tations of our home arts to note these changes with 
the characteristic colours of our varied landscape 
reflected, not only in the works of our painters, 
but in the half-tones of our textiles and wall-papers, 
and throughout our decorative design, which for 
form, too, owes so much to the flora of our native 

It does not seem to follow that with the great- 
est amount of sunlight we get the most colour; on 
the contrary, the zenith of light is the absorption 
of colour, just as darkness represents its extinction. 
Light and darkness are the black and white on 
the palette of nature, necessary to give value to 
her colours. 

The sense of colour, too, is no doubt greatly af- 
fected by other climatic influences, such as humid- 
ity, haziness, clearness, heat and cold, as well as 
their accompaniments in varieties of scenery and 
locality, such as plains or mountains, woodland, 



sea-board, lake, river, agricultural land, or wild 


We associate brilliant colours and bold designs 
with eastern and southern countries, but, apart 
from the greater stimulus of light which might^en- 
courage the use of vivid colour, there is, I think, 
another reason which accounts for the bolder and 
franker use of colour and ornament in the south 
and east. Broad and full sunlight has a curiously 
flattening effect upon colour and pattern, and 
therefore colours and patterns which under a gray 
sky would look staring, or very strong arid strik- 
ing, under the full sunlight fall into ; plane, ^ and 
become subordinated to the dominant pitch of light. 

We may take as an instance the porch of the 
Cathedral at Pistoia. The bold black and white 
bands of marble which face the front of this build- 
ing as of so many mediaeval Lombardic Italian 

cathedrals, as at Florence, Genoa, and Siena (an 
idea borrowed from the Saracens) look striking 
enough under a gray sky, but when the sunlight 
falls upon the building and raises the whole pitch 
of light the whole mass with its projections falls 
into planes of broad light and shade. The black 
bands become gray and flat in the light, and all fall 
into their places in the architectural scheme, and 
therefore, though borrowed from the east, are quite 
appropriate in a climate like Italy, which can count 
on persistent sunshine for the most part, summer 
and winter. Inside the porch, in the spandril and 
vault, is faced with Delia Robbia ware, in blue, 
white, and yellow, and a very beautiful piece of 
decoration it is. This, again, however, in a dull 
atmosphere might look cold and strange, but illu- 


initiated by the rich reflected light cast up from 
the sunlit pavement it takes all sorts of accidental 


lights and falls into Its place admirably. Other- 
wise the porch is interesting from the curious blend 


of Byzantine, Saracenic, and classical motives and 

influences in decoration. 

Seen in the cold and dull light of an English 
museum, away from their proper architectural sur- 
roundings, panels of Delia Robbia ware are apt to 
look somewhat strong, bold, or rank in colour, which 
only shows they were designed in a sunny bright 
climate, and to be seen in a full external or warm 
reflected light as a rule. The very qualities that 
make the ware trying in one place make it right 
in another. 

The various historic types of design in archi- 
tecture and decoration are, in fact, mostly the result 
of the blending or uniting of elements derived from 
different sources. While we may in the leading 
types prevalent in different countries detect the 
fundamental prevailing influence of life, custom 
and habit, the result of climatic and racial condi- 
tions ; we may also see, owing to social and politi- 
cal changes and the results of conquest or of 
commercial relations, other elements coming in 
various details of construction, form, and colour. 

Our present purpose, however, is rather to seek 
the fundamental characteristic types and predilec- 
tions traceable to the fundamental or natural con- 
ditions of locality and climate, as far as they can 
be followed in historic decoration. 

It seems to have been in the power of certain 
ancient peoples to impress and to preserve the 
character of their life and the conditions of their 
habitat very strongly upon their art, so that, though 
their political power has long ago been swept 
away, their records remain practically imperishable 
In their monuments of art. 



Of such the ancient Egyptians must always be 

If we look at the structure of the primitive 
Egyptian dwelling we shall find that it illustrates 
those influences of climate and locality in a very 
emphatic way. 

In the first place, as we know, Egypt depends 
upon her great river, the Nile, which may be said 
to have made her existence possible, since its 
waters fertilize the whole country. It is interest- 
ing, then, to note that the primitive Egyptian 
dwelling was essentially suggestive of the riverside 
and of a country of sunshine. Its materials were 
those of the waterside, consisting of clay and canes 
and lotus reeds ; the canes being used for the 
framing and support of tjhe clay walls, which are 
built in layers between t^ern. 

The plans and diagrams of construction (from 
Viollet le Due) will give a; clear idea of the form 
and character of the primitive Egyptian dwelling. 
In the course of an interesting account of its con- 
struction he says: that it is a dwelling for a 
country where brilliant sunshine is the rule is 
shown by the smallness of the windows, which are 
furnished with lattices. The walls were frequently 
plastered with clay, covered with a composition 
made of the same clay and fine sand or white 
stone dust, and this furnished a ground for the 
painters who decorated the reeds and plastered 
walls with brilliant colours ; the walls'" and ceilings 
of the interior were also decorated in the same 
way; rush mats furnished the floor and covered 
the lower part of the walls. Sometimes, also, we 
find a portico supported on bundles of reeds, the 



covering of which is made of wood and byblos, 

with a terrace of clay before the door, affording 

shade and coolness in front of the dwelling. Like 
most dwellings in eastern countries, there is a flat 
roof or terrace on the top of the house, approached 


by steps; and here awnings are spread on poles 
to give shade, when they can be used for sitting 
upon or for sleeping or enjoying the 
cool of the day. 

When the Egyptians learned the art 
of building and carving in stone from 
the rock dwellers above the Delta, and 
built their great temples, they still per- 
petuated in stone, in the reeded and 
filleted columns with lotus capitals, the 
ornamental traditions of the reed-built 
primitive dwelling, and the painter 
still adorned them in bright primitive 
colours ; so that we are perpetually re- 
minded of the great riverside, from 
which sprung the flower of that ancient 
art and civilization. Another effect of 
climate upon art may be noted in the 
representation of figures. The Egyp- 
tian climate being extremely warm but 
equable, most out-door occupations 
precluded the wearing of much apparel, 
so that the figure nude and lightly clad 
plays an important part in Egyptian 
design, as in Greek. 

At a time like the present, when 
the world of design suffers rather from 
what might be called too generous or . 
too mixed a diet; when the tendency COLUMN FROM 
is to over-elaborate, to combine too Juxoif F 
many elements ; to be lost either in an 
overdone flamboyance of curvature, or in a strain- 
ing after a forced and inappropriate naturalism, a 
study of Egyptian art may be recommended as a 



wholesome corrective. The simplicity, severity, 

and restraint, abstract and yet vivid characteriza- 

tion of form, frank and primitive coloration, pur- 
poseful intention, and mural motives and methods 
arefuJl of suggestiveness and value to the student 

and decorative designer. 


Another instance of the influence of primitive 
timber construction over stone may be seen in 
comparing the ancient Persian column with its 
timber prototype still in use. 
Persia, indeed, is another eastern 
country which has preserved 
almost unbroken traditions 
in design from a very re- 
mote past, and may be said to be 
the source of the most beautiful 
types of ornamental art the world 
has ever seen, and especially in 
three leading forms coloured 
and glazed tiles and bricks, pot- 
tery, and textiles. To judge from 
the wonderful decoration of glazed 
bricks discovered a few years ago 
at Susa, forming part of the an- 
cient forum and palace of Darius, 
destroyed in the reign of Xerxes, 
B.C. 485-465, excavated by M. 
and Mme. Dieulafoy, 1 the artistic 
skill of the Persians in this kind of 
work, and their sense of its value, 
and the treatment of colour and 
ornament, dates back to a very 
early period. 

In the famous frieze of archers, 
which formed part of the wall de- 
coration of this palace, the figures 
are frankly repeated in design though alternating 
in the patterns and colours of their dress, boldly 

1 See " Acropole de Suse," Hachette et Cie., 79, Boulevard 
St. Germain e, Paris. 



relieved upon a field of torquoise blue, formed 
by the glazed bricks by which the frieze is con- 
structed. The figures and ornament must have 
been moulded or stamped in relief upon the clay 
while soft, and cut up into bricks, and afterwards 
fired and glazed in the method of Robbia ware ; 
the whole scheme is severely simple but very ef- 
fective in its proper position upon the walls of one 
of the large courts of the palace, mostly in reflected 
light under projecting porticoes, and would be very 
impressive and at the same time truly mural and 
reposeful in feeling and colour. 

Such a scheme of frank colour and fine detail 
could hardly have been conceived except in a 
country of brilliant light. Some cloubt exists as 
to the exact position of the frieze upon the wall. 
Figures of similar scale in Assyrian work and also 
at Persepolis were placed not far, if at all, above 
the eye level. 

Upon the dress of one set of the archers is fig- 
ured, it is supposed, the fortress of Susa itself, 
which was built upon a mount. 

There is much interesting ornamental detail in 
the dresses, which afford excellent authorities for 
the costume of Persian warriors of that period. 
We see also the palm-leaf border, a primitive form, 
type and forerunner of a whole tribe of border 
design. The rosette is said to resemble " the full- 
blown Star of Bethlehem, conspicuous among all 
other flowers, among the herbage clothing the 
stretches of Susiana and the tablelands of Iran 
(Persia) after the first rains in early spring/' 
(Perrot and Chipiez, p. 137.) 

We may note, too, what seems obviously the 


.jpsfBBfliif If; ^^lilii: ':':|p^|fc/!3)|^p.:- ! ; i "i^r:i.::.'l|lis- 



prototype of the Moorish battlement, defined in 
blue bricks above the figures, suggesting they are 
guarding the citadel. 

The Moorish or Arabian form constantly occurs 
as an ornamental cresting in carved woodwork, 
and also appears to have suggested an ornamental 
form largely used with variations in eastern carpets, 
notably those of Turkistan. 

The treatment of the design has the severity 
and simplicity of early Asiatic monumental art, 
and is allied in treatment to the Assyrian relief 
work, but is more subtle and refined, and shows a 
finer decorative and colour sense. 

In the treatment of blue the Persians always 
seem to have been particularly successful, and 
their later tile work in the Mohammedan period 
is well known, and continues down to our own 

The love of blue and its use in tile work and 
pottery seems to have been general all over the 
east ; it may be because of the adaptability of the 
metallic oxide colour to firing, but also it may be 
due to the pleasant relief and sense of coolness 
such decoration would afford to the eye in courts 
and interiors screened from the sun. 

The old Nankin blue, so famous in Chinese 
porcelain, in the so-called hawthorn pattern, was 
described by one of the emperors as the blue of 
the sky showing through the white clouds after 
the south rain. 

In carpets Persia about our sixteenth century 
reached a pitch of perfection in design, colouring, 
and material which, it would seem, has never been 
reached before or since. In these works we, of 


course, pass to a very different and much later 
period of Persian history, after the Arabian inva- 
sion in the seventh century, and the conversion 
of its people to the Mohammedan religion, under 
which Persian art developed in such delicate, rich, 
and beautiful forms. 

There are very magnificent specimens of the 
finest types of Persian carpets now in the national 
collection at South Kensington, the Persian collec- 
tion having been recently rearranged in the new 
galleries in Imperial Institute Road to very great 
advantage as regards lighting and opportunities of 

The famous Holy Carpet of the mosque at 
Ardebil is perhaps the finest example, though 
there are others more inventive in pattern, if not 
more delicate in design or harmonious in colour. 
A curious feature in the pattern of this carpet is a 
hanging lamp, such a lamp as is used for lighting 
mosques, with a painted glass body, probably sus- 
pended by chains from the roof. The lamp is re- 
peated at the end of the main ornament of the 
field of the carpet, facing opposite ways. 

The inscription worked in Arabic characters 
into the carpet at one end is given in translation 
thus: "I have no refuge in the world other than 
thy threshold. My head has no protection other 
than this porchway, the work of the slave of this 
holy place, Maksond of Kashan in the year 946 " 
(corresponding to our A,D. 1540). We thus see 
that it is a carpet destined for an entrance, or 
porchway, of a mosque, and the woven images of 
the lamps probably indicated the real lamps sus- 
pended overhead to light 'the' entrance to the 


mosque. So that, though they seem strange ob- 
jects in the pattern of a carpet, they have a certain 
appropriateness and significance in this particular 
one. Fire, too, was a sacred emblem of the 
ancient Persians. 

Persia might be said to be a country of gardens, 
of deserts, and of abundant sunshine. It is for 
the most part a high table-land, and is described 
as a climate of extremes. " Nowhere in the habit- 
able world is there so sharp a contrast between 
the heat of noon and the cold of night, between 
the brown bare rock and the verdant meadow, 
betwoen the gorgeous hues of natural plains and 
the absolute bareness of arid wastes." (Perrot 
and Chipiez.) 

Such a description is very suggestive. We 
seem to see natural reasons for the interest and 
beauty of Persian art in the varied physical condi- 
tions of their country and climate. 

The love of the sheltered, walled-in, and natural 
garden is very evident in their literature ; and the 
influence of their flora upon their design of all 
kinds is evident enough. 

The idea of the eastern paradise is a garden. 
We have it in the Bible in the Garden of Eden 
an inclosed pleasance or park full of choice trees 
and rare flowers, animals of the chase, and birds. 
This idea recurs constantly in Persian design. 
The very scheme of the typical carpet seems de- 
rived- from it a rich vari-coloured field hedged 
about with its borders. The field is frequently 
obviously intended for a field of flowers, and some- 
times suggests a wood or an orchard of fruit trees. 
The idea of the green oasis to the traveller in the 




. 177 N 

desert ; the grateful relief of the colour and shade 
of green trees and fresh flowers ; the sound of 
waters; the delight of the horseman and the 
hunter ; the dark forest full of dangerous animals 
are *,not these things irresistibly suggested in 
Persian design ? 

The same sensitiveness to natural beauty and 
the influence of climate is shown in their poets. 
The astronomer-poet of Persia, Omar Khayyam, 
sings of the awakening spring. It is a period, 
too, associated with the termination of a religious 
fast, Ramazan, which is analogous to our Lent, 

Omar invites his reader to come forth, like a 
true poet, seeking inspiration in the wilderness. 

"With me along the strip of herbage strown, 
That just divides the desert from the sown, 
Where name of slave and sultan is forgot, 
And peace to Mahmud on his golden throne." 

t-. Spring in Persia must be a much more sudden 
Burst of life and efflorescence than we can realize 
from our own timid and coy climate. Even in 
Italy the spring generally comes all at once with 
a burst of bloom and a profusion of blossoms and 
flowers, and in its strength the sun straightway 
leads on into summer before one is aware. This 
gives one an idea what it must be in a country 
like Persia the country of the rose and the night- 
ingale as well as of the vine, of which Omar the 
poet is eloquent. 

Then, too, it is an agricultural country. "He 
who guides a plough does a pious deed " is one of 
the precepts of the early Parsee religion, which 
also, as its main conception, presents the constant 


strife of good against evil, light against darkness, 
personified by the contest of Orrnuzd and Ahri- 

The sturdy and honest peasant was the back- 
bone of the country in ancient times, and furnished 
those sturdy warriors who built the power of 
the ancient kings. And in the political changes 
or conquests to which Persia has been subject in 
the course of her history, her people would always 
appear to have had a recuperative power, or a 
power of absorbing their conquerors, or perhaps 
a certain tenacity of purpose, or a conservation of 
the vital part in old beliefs and traditions which 
have been favourable to art. 

How far that art was original, in the time of 
Persia's ancient greatness as a conquering power, 
in the time of Darius, when the palace at Susa 
was built how far it was influenced from other 
sources, or contributed to by artists of other nations, 
must always be more or less a matter of conject- 
ure ; but in the Susa work we are reminded of 
Assyrian decoration, and even of Greek and 
Egyptian influence. 

The Persian art, however, which has had the 
most influence upon the neighbouring Asiatic 
countries, and upon Europe, has been produced 
since the Arabian conquest in the seventh century, 
and the conversion of the country to the Moham- 
medan faith. Even then, however, although in 
Mohammedan art the representation of animals is 
forbidden, the Persians were neutral and independ- 
ent ; in Persian design animals have been freely 
introduced, and with charming decorative effect. 
It is supposed; indeed, that Persian art is really 


the source of invention of many forms commonly 
called Arabian and Indian, and these forms have 
travelled both east and west, and have been modi- 
fied in the countries of their adoption. The 
Persians seem to have been in Asia much what 
the Greeks were in Europe both great adaptors 
and great originators in design. 

One might trace elements and influences and 
types of form and treatment from other countries 
and races in Persian art, but one traces Persian 
influence to a far greater extent in the art of other 

In India, which was also invaded by Islam, and 
was colonized by Persians, the Arabic type of art 
also became naturalized in architecture and decora- 
tion. Here again we have a country of the sun. 
Here again we find tile decoration in great beauty, 
and the use of bright colours and intricate design. 
Intricacy both of colour and pattern is perhaps 
the chief characteristic of Indian design. 

One feature in Indian, as in Arabic dwellings, 
may be noticed as a direct result of the persistent 
sunshine turned to decorative account one com- 
mon to eastern countries-- the pierced screen or 
lattice window, which tempers the fierce light of 
the sun and breaks it into small stars of light. 

The rich carved timber overhanging windows, 
with its lattice screen so characteristic of old 
Cairo and Arabian life, is repeated with variations 
in India, and not only in wood but in stone and 
faience. We find small ogee-pointed windows 
with perforated lattices cut in sandstone of intricate 
design and delightful ornamental effect. There 
are some in the India Museum from Agra. But 

1 80 



the loveliest of all are those in the mosque of the 
Palace at Ahmedabad, consisting of most delicate 
and intricate designs of trees cut in stone, which 
fill the arched openings. One of these windows 
is here illustrated. There is nothing more delicate 
or beautiful in the whole range of architectural 

In the tomb of Yusuf Shah Cadez, at Multan, 
occur large perforated screens in tile work. This 
tomb, an excellent reproduction of which is to be 
seen in the India Museum, is a fine example of 
Mohammedan tile work and decoration in two 
blues turquoise and ultramarine on a warm 
white ground. In the luminous atmosphere of 
India, beneath the deep blue vault of the sky, such 
colour on such surface must be very beautiful. 

Perhaps the love of intricate ornament in Indian 
carved and pierced work in the doors, window 
casements, and lattices may be due in part to the 
certainty of obtaining a bright, crisp, rich, spark- 
ling effect in the broad and strong sunlight, where 
every touch would tell, and the fret or lattice 
work over a pierced opening would have all the 
richness and delicacy of lace. 

Then in the solemn and dimly-lighted splendour 
of the interior of the mosques, the Mohammedan, 
alike in Arabia, Turkey, Persia, or India, found a 
grateful contrast and relief to the eye, while his 
religious imagination and emotion were stimulated. 
Much the same feeling intensified which comes 
over one who passes from the brilliant Venetian 
sunlight on the piazza, the glittering quays and 
dancing light and colour of Venice, into the sub- 
dued, cool, and golden shade of St. Mark's. 




















This wonderful contrast of bright and dark, of 
glitter and solemnity, the splendour of sunlight 
and the solemnity of shade, can only be fully ap- 
preciated in southern or eastern countries. The 
pitch of light being higher the shade seems deeper, 
and yet it is a shade full of colour always. 
When the sun sinks, in the short afterglow every- 
thing seems fused in an atmosphere of luminous 
colour and half-tone, which transfigures and glori- 
fies everything. We get an approach to it on the 
finest summer evenings in England, but with a 
different and generally less romantic background. 
It would appear, though, that climates which are 
characterized by constant sunlight and heat favour 
rather traditional than individual forms of art. 
The sun, the giver of life and light, becomes over- 
powering, always present, and in its searching 
beams leaves no hiding-place for the romantic 
imagination, except in temples and mosques at 
sunrise or sunset, or under the moon. We may 
have an equable and warm climate like Egypt, 
where all is sharply defined in the light of a clear 
and serene atmosphere, with a regulated, ordered 
life, as in her ancient days, under a long succession 
of dynasties, and we see the outcome in art - 
measured, calculated according to strict method 
and authority and convention, with but little room 
for individual feeling. 

In Persia we find a climate of sharp contrasts, 
hot sun by day and sharp cold at night, verdure 
and desert, bare rock and flowery meadow side by 
side, and we get a wonderfully varied art, rich in 
colour and fantasy. 

In India the invention, though kindred, perhaps 

even largely borrowed, seems tamer, the intricacy 
more calculated, the richness more mechanical ; 
and we find this with a dependent people in a land 
of fiercer and more permanent sunshine, pursuing 
mostly an agricultural life, like the ancient 
Egyptians, under conditions practically unchanged 
for centuries. 

In Greece, which fused and absorbed Asiatic 
elements in her art, we see another country of 
the sun, yet subject to winds and variations and 
marked transition of the seasons a mountainous, 
rocky country, beautiful in form and embracing 
the sea. In art she has given us the perfection 
of figure sculpture. 

In Italy, with hardly less sun, yet by no means 
beyond the reach of wintry cold, severe winds, 
great rains and sometimes snow, yet w-ith a burn- 
ing summer for the most part, which has decidedly 
fixed the types in her architecture, we find a union 
of many elements, a halfway house between east 
and west, where Asiatic feeling unites with Greek 
and Roman, Saracen and Norman, Gothic with 
Renascence, in an unexampled wealth and profu- 
sion of inventive design in architecture, sculpture, 
painting, and all the family of artistic handicrafts, 
which makes her a happy hunting ground for the 
artist, an inexhaustible treasure-house of beauty 
and suggestion. 

We might follow the chariot of the sun, from 
the land of its rising, Japan, a climate more near 
to our own, and note her wonderful display of 
manipulation and imitative skill, in all ways of 
handicrafts dominating by a certain grotesqueness 
as well as naturalistic impressionism ; or, passing 



to her great foe China, see something of the same 
tendencies and stages in the rising of her ^ art, 
breaking off, as it were, at a stage of restrained 
conventionalism or westward, along the southern 
shores of the blue Mediterranean, following in the 
footsteps of the Moors, and note the wonderfully 
ornate but somewhat heartless splendour of their 
art in Spain: the gilded magnificence of the 
Alhambra, with its glittering pendentive ceilings, 
borrowed, as some think, in the first place from 
Persia, and the wonderful jewel-like sparkle and 
intricate fancy of its ornament with its ever-re- 
curring star-forms and scimitar-like scrolls. 

And then turning northwards into France, with 
one hand touching the sunny south and the other 
dipped in the gray English Channel, we should 
find some "of the same elements, but very differ- 
ently mixed, with a very distinct character of art 
Cold in colour, correct in form, brilliant in work- 
manship, quick-witted, dramatic ; ever experiment- 
ing and inquiring, and desiring, like the ancient 
Greeks, some new thing. 

Pursuing our journey northwards, we might 
pause in Flanders and Holland and mark how 
closely associated with local conditions of life and 
climate are their forms of art, more especially as 
illustrated in the art of their past days -the 
pictures of rich Flemish burgher life of the Middle 
Ages, the knights and ladies with a certain stern- 
ness and stiffness of demeanour, as of an energetic 
and yet patient people accustomed to contend 
with difficulties, proud, yet devotional, and fond 
of comfort, kneeling, well-clad in velvets and rich 
furs against a northern climate. 

1 86 



Germany would tell a similar tale in her arts, 
though with a more dominant military and religious 
note, more fantasy and more melancholy, and with 
a wild grotesque element corresponding with her 
more varied conditions of climate and scenery. 


The latter quality is still more marked among the 
old towns of Bohemia. The two sketches here 
give some of the architectural characteristics of 
both town and country dwellings. 

After such a journey we should doubtless be 
glad to get home again to our own varying and 



changeable climate, and when seated comfortably 
at the fireside think how much the characteristics 
of our native art may also owe to the influence of 
the constant and varied procession of sunshine 
and cloud, storm and calm, heat and cold, fickle 


spring, short summer, long uncertain winter, our 
mist and rain (which gives us our green woodlands 
and meadows), to our wild and dangerous coasts. 
Or we may well think whether these influences 
are not traceable in our art: love of domesticity 
and indoor comfort, characterized by warm and 


blended though subdued colour, small patterns, 
trimness and neatness ; love of animals and flowers, 
of natural scenery and the sea. May it not be 
said these are characteristics which our pictorial 
art certainly displays ? While our architecture 
(in spite of foreign importations) is obliged to con- 
sider the necessities of a varying climate, so that 
our houses are built as a rule more to live in than 
to look at ; and the colours of our interiors, while 
they often re-echo the greens, browns, and russets 
of our landscape as our patterns and fabrics re- 
call the flower gardens and meadows are chosen 
perhaps more to live with quietly than to excite 
controversy, or compel a reference to the grammar 
of ornament 



HT^HOSE personal predilections and idiosyn- 
J^ crasies which we each possess, those differ- 
ences of temper and qualities of perception which 
affect our sense of colour and form, which account 
for those variations of treatment in the rendering, 
in design or drawing, of the same objects by dif- 
ferent persons what are these and whence do 
they come ? They belong to the very constitution 
of our minds and bodies ; they are beyond our 
own control, and beyond almost our own conscious- 
ness, oftentimes. They belong to our progenitors 
and ancestors perhaps as much as to ourselves, 
and are lost in the broken records of past family, 
histories ; we can only say that certain forms and 
colours appear so and so to our eyes, that we 
delight in some more than others because we are 
made that way. Such indications of character 
and preferences are generally traceable, where 
clues and records exist, to the race, or mixture of 
races from which we have sprung. We attribute, 
for instance, certain imaginative faculties to our 
Celtic origin; certain . calculating and analytical 
capacities to Teutonic sources ; while as a mixed 
race we call ourselves Anglo-Saxon, and as such 
are supposed to be especially distinguished by 


practicality, the racial type gradually, in the pro- 
cess of time, being formed by the collective action 
of such small individual characteristics somewhat 
as great geological deposits, such as our chalk hills, 
have been formed by the gradual accumulation 
and aggregation of the minute shells of minuter 
marine creatures. 

These typical racial characteristics in art these 
preferences in colour, form, pattern, treatment, 
sentiment, and idea, have left their marks upon 
the history of art, which indeed becomes, finally, 
the only history of races the only record left of 
peoples to tell us of their intimate life, their hopes 
and fears, their struggles and their aspirations, so 
that a scrap of wall-painting, a fragment of an in- 
cised slab, a piece of broken pottery, a weapon of 
bronze, or a jewel, become in course of time full of 
significance eloquent books of the life of peoples 
and powers long ago covered by the drifting sands 
of time. 

The desire to record and to perpetuate seems 
to have stimulated the primitive artistic instinct in 
all races ; and, indeed, it may still be said to be a 
living factor and motive in art production. 

Each race seeks an image of itself (as every 
individual desires a portrait), and strives to put in 
imperishable form the character of its own life, 
and the ideas or ideals dearest to it. Thus, the 
prehistoric hunter left images of the animals he 
hunted, and his hunting reminiscences, scratched 
upon bones and smooth slates and stones; much 
as the Assyrian kings, in a more elaborate way, 
having the resources of a powerful civilization at 
command, loved to have recorded on sculptured 



slabs, lining their palaces, their prowess in arms 
and the chase ; more especially as hunters and 
slayers of lions, though in their case the lion hunt- 
ing was done in a more luxurious modern way, 
the animals being driven into special inclosures, 
and let loose on purpose to be slain by the king 
and his men a system of a piece with the gener- 
ally tyrannical and cruel methods of despotic 
persons. Still, no doubt, there was considerably 
more risk and danger involved than in a modern 
battue in a pheasant cover barring the chance of 
being shot by your neighbour's gun. 

Certainly the general tenor of the story told in 
ancient Asiatic art is that of the conqueror's 
triumphs, of the strong overcoming the weak, the 
glorification of kings and warriors in battle, of 
beleaguered cities, and the carrying away of 
captives and spoils. No doubt, if this conquering 
spirit had been absent, if each branch of the great 
human family had remained within its primitive 
borders, their art would have presented sharper 
and more distinct contrasts, while remaining simple 
in character. 1 1 is the restless, exploring, conquer- 
ing, acquisitive spirit which mixes and blends 
elements originally distinct- well, it may be it also 
acts as the stormy wind that scatters the winged 
seeds of design and, bearing them to new soils, 
produces new varieties. 

It is 'difficult, of course, to disentangle the strictly 
racial characteristics in art entirely from those 
other strong influences which, in fact, may be said 
to have helped in their formation the influence 
of climate, habit, and local materials, which we 
have previously touched upon. Yet the purely 



human element appears to come in, and the final 
form which art takes among a people must bear 
the stamp of individual choice as well as of collect- 
ive sentiment and climatic influence. 

In primitive communities, however, the indivi- 
dual is less apparent than the collective racial influ- 
ence. The forms of art are typical and symbolical 
rather than imitative or graphic. The great Asiatic 
races of antiquity, to judge from the remains of 
their monuments, 'the palaces of their kings, and 
their temples and tombs, adopted certain typical 
methods of representation which, in the case of the 
ancient Egyptians, became, in association with a 
strictly ordered and carefully organized social 
existence under an elaborate religious system and 
ritual, actual forms of language and record in the 
hieroglyphic. These consisted of certain abstract 
representations of familiar forms and figures in- 
closed in a kind of cartouche, incised upon stone 
walls, or stamped upon plaster and filled with 

The lotus flower served as a symbol of the 
annual overflow of the Nile (at the summer solstice) 
co important to the Egyptians; the ram and the 
sun symbolized Amru-Ra, the king of all gods ; 
other animals, with and without wings, the cat, 
the dog, the sparrow-hawk for the soul, the beetle 
(scarafaus) for creative energy, generation and 
perpetuation of life, the snake for continuity of 
time, etc. ; and even differently arranged lines, the 
zigzag for water, the circle, square, waved line, 
spiral, labyrinth, etc., betokened the divine and 
secretly- working powers of nature. 

Such forms inclosed in cartouches massed to- 


gether, sometimes in horizontal lines, sometimes 
in vertical, formed a striking wall decoration in 
themselves. A wonderful pitch of abstract yet 
exact characterization 
of natural form was 
reached by very sim- 
ple means in this pic- 
ture - writing. The 
birds especially are 
remarkable for their 
truth. Every object 
had to be clearly de- 
fined so as to be 
recognized at once 
and easily deciphered. 
The profile view of 
an object is always 
the most character- 
istic and typical, and 
lends itself best to a 
system of representa- 
tion where all objects | 
are on the same plane. 
So the glyphic artist 
kept strictly to profile. 
Love of typical 
form, definite outline 
and mass, flat and vi- 


vid coloration these BENIHASAN . NINETEENTH DYNASTY. 
are always character- 
istic of ancient Egyptian art, even when, as during 
the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, a freer 
style and greater naturalism is apparent in their 
portrait sculpture and wall-paintings. 






The love of clearness of statement and their 
conception of art, as in the nature of a decorative 
record, seems to be emphatically expressed in their 
ways of representation. For instance, in painting 
an altar piled with offerings they give the altar 
front in elevation, but the offerings, in order that 


each and all should be seen drawn in profile, are 
arranged in ground plan. Thus we may say that 
their statements were pictures, their pictures were 

There is a wall-painting in the British Museum 
showing a fish pond or tank in a garden, surrounded 
by trees. The inclosed water is rendered by 




a flat tint of pale blue, with horizontal zigzag lines 
in a second tint across it Lotus flowers and buds 
spring vertically from it, and on its surface ducks 


and fish are painted in profile. The trees are 
painted on the upper side and ends with their 
stems springing from the edge of the pond ; but 
the row of trees on the near side grows with the 



tops towards the water ; while the row at each end 
sprouts outward. The whole forms a very pretty 
piece of ornament, and would embroider w^ll for 
a table-cloth centre, or lend itself to a treatment 
for a mosaic floor. Note the way in which the 
trees alternate (apple trees and date palms), and 
the grouping of the ducks and the fish alternatino- 

with the lotus flower. It is freely painted with 
direct brush touches ,on the white plaster. 

In the ornamental treatment of tree forms all 
the eastern races seem to have excelled. Trees 
have always been associated with religious belief, 
and have had mystical and symbolical signific- 
ance as the tree of the garden of Genesis, the 
tree of life, and the fatal tree of the knowledge of 
good and evil Trees, too, were man's first shelter 
and dwelling; no wonder a race descended from 



arboreal ancestors should revere them and hold 
them sacred. 

It is interesting to compare this Egyptian 
rendering of the date palm tree with an Assyrian 
rendering of the same tree, though the latter is 
sculptured; or, again, with the Grseco- Roman 
version at the house of Icarius. The typical and 

sacred tree with the Assyrians, however, was the 
tree of life, which became with them a formal 
piece of ornament. In it we* seem to see, too, the 
original form of a type of ornament constantly recur- 
ring In the art of all the Asiatic races, and which 
was apparently carried by them, or from them, into 
Europe; reappearing in Persian, Greek, Roman, 
and Renascence work in all manner of variations, 
remaining a typical horizontal border motive to 
our own day. 

2O I 


The lotus appears in sculptured Assyrian pave- 
ments on the outer border, the open flowers 
alternating with the buds, as in Egyptian work. 
Then we have another typical and constantly 
recurring border motive in the rosette, which has 
a rich and sumptuous effect, closely filled in this 
way. Then comes in the palmette, or tree of life, 
while the centre filling, a network formed of a six- 
petalled flower form, again recalls the suggested 
textile origin of the ornamental motive of the 
whole, to which I have before alluded. 

Other interesting and characteristic renderings 
of flowers and trees may be found in bas-relief 
upon the Assyrian alabaster slabs used as wall 
decorations, such as those showing the vine, the 
fig, the lily, and the daisy here given, the sculpture 
of which, in general, is remarkable not only for the 
combination of great power of expression and 
energy of action with a very dominant formalizing 
and ornamental and typical treatment &f form, but 
also for great- delicacy of chiselling ; in one slab 
there is a small figure of a king in his chariot, 
inclosed within larger work, as finely cut almost 
as a gem or seal Note, as illustrating the orna- 
mental treatment of animal forms, so characteristic 
of these Assyrian or Semitic sculptures, the way 
the lions are carved, the masses of the hair of 
the manes carefully marked and ornamentally de- 
signed, the muscular lines of the face emphasized 
in the same ornamental manner. The result is a 
typical lion, stately, monumental, sculptural, and 
decorative, yet in no way wanting in energy of 
action, character, and vigour. 

Nothing could be more different in spirit and 


style from the ordinary modern European sculptor's 
treatment. The Assyrian grasped the essential 


leonine character, but expressed it in. typical and 
ornamental terms. The modern English, French, 


German, or Italian generally seeks a naturalism 
which struggles to escape from the conditions of 
the material; he seeks accidents rather than 
essentials, and, in his horror of formalism, tries to 



treat the masses of hair and mane as if he wielded 
the painters brush rather than the sculptors 
chisel though it is generally modelled in clay 
first before it is carved. The result is loss of 
dignity, typical character, and monumental feeling. 
Alfred Stevens saw the importance of a certain 
formalism, and his little lion on the uprights^of 
the outer railing of the British Museum remains 
unequalled, so far as I know, in modern work. 1 

The Hellenic race, the Greeks, whose art has 
had, and still possesses, such an influence over 
that of the modern world, while in their archaic 
period differing little in method of treatment and 
in use of ornament from the Asiatic races, the 
Assyrian and Egyptian and Persian, the elements 
of each of which they seemed to fuse and adapt, 
gradually developed a freer style, and, while never 
losing their monumental sense in sculpture, carried 
the human figure in sculpture to the^ greatest 
pitch of perfection. Their invention in purely 
ornamental forms was not conspicuous, nor was it 
needed, since they treated the human figure as 
their chief element in decoration. Their leading 
ornamental types may be traced to Asiatic proto- 
types the palmette and the rosette, for instance. 
The scroll, perhaps, they may particularly claim 
to have developed, and the anthemion, from their 
primitive types. 

This latter type of ornament, so generally used 
by the Greeks as a crest or crown upon their 
upright obelisk-like tombstones or steles, or to 

1 For some unexplained reason these lions have been removed 
and the London people deprived of perhaps their finest bit of 
monumental work. 




crest the angles of the pediments of their temples, 
Is suggestive in its general form of a flame, or 
pair of wings. 


It is noteworthy that a similar form occurs, 
treated in detail in a variety of ways, as a glory or 
halo placed behind Buddhist images made in 



ancient India, Japan, and Burmah, often in carved 
wood and gilt metal or bronze, pierced and 



ornamented in a variety of ways sometimes 
suggesting leafy trees, but generally radiating in 



their principal lines fromacentrejiketheanthemion. 
The flame was a sacred symbol with many ancient 
peoples, and it remains with us as the fitting emblem 
of inspiration. 

The gilded, almond-shaped glory inclosing the 
figure of the Virgin and of Christ in Gothic paint- 
ing and sculpture seems to be another form of the 
same emblem, and a similar form is common in all 

Persian and Eastern ornament design. 

It gener- 


ally appears as a kind of fruit or many-petaled 
flower, or flower and fruit combined. I am in- 
clined to think that it may have originally had a 
religious significance associated with fire or life, 1 
while its beauty of contour and adaptability in 
decoration of all kinds were sufficient to perpetuate 

1 Prof. Fischbach, Indeed, traces the relationship of a whole 
series of patterns to the influence of fire worship and its 


it even it the original meaning were lost. If the 
Persians invented it, it might have had some 
reference to their own primitive fire-worship, while 
with the Arabs, and 
wherever the faith of 
Mohammed spread, 
it would still be sig- 
nificant of the pro- 
phetic fire, and it is 
certainly universally 
found in the orna- 
ment of Mohamme- 
dan countries. We 
might trace it back 
to its primitive form 
in the Assyrian tree 
of life, and this on the 
face of it seems its 
most likely source ; 
and we find it in Per- 
sian work definitely 
taking the pome- 
granate form within 
the rayed leaves. 
The rayed flower or 
leaf form curiously 
reappears in a late 
Celtic cross in Ar- 
gyllshire, in associa- 
tion with the char- 
acteristic knotted work, a kind of tree form, and 
filling of pattern carved in the stone and culminat- 
ing in the cross. 

Whatever race may really claim its invention or 
209 p 



first effective use, it appeals now universally to 
the ornamental sense, and has become the common 
property of designers, who do not usually disturb 
themselves with the question whether they have 
stolen a fruit from the tree of life, or sacred fire 
from an unknown hearth, so long as they can fill a 
space effectively or make an attractive and adapt- 
able design. 

Another form, now no less universal, is probably 
Persian in origin, although it has found a settled 
.home in India -I mean what is known as the 
Indian palmette, so familiar to designers for 
Manchester calico prints. 

I arn told by Mr. Purdon Clarke that this palm 
shape denotes benison or blessing, or a message 
of goodwill of some kind- This answers to the 
symbolical meaning of the palm in the Bible, as 
carried by benign and holy persons and angels. 
Here would be a symbolical reason for its longevity 
in ornament, as it would naturally commend itself 
to an eastern race in a sun-burnt land, to whom 
the suggestion of shady palms would always be 
grateful. But here, again, the beauty of its contour 
appeals to the ornamentist on independent grounds. 
He values it for its graceful mass in a pattern, for 
its bold and sweeping curves, for its value as an 
inclosing form for small floral fittings. 

To the Persian and Hindu designers, .with their 
exquisite and subtle sense of ornament, with their 
passion for elaborate intricacy, such a form as this 
is. utilized to its utmost capacity, both in counter- 
balancing and superimposed masses upon flowery 
fields, and as inclosures for smaller fields of pattern ; 
while the abundant flora of their spring-time 


. -OLD 


tHiN^e-e^BRolSiS^: 5 




blossoms in a new and translated existence in their 
richly patterned printed and woven textiles, and in 
the carved ornament of their buildings. 

The influence in Arabic ornament of the 
Mohammedan faith, too, in forbidding the repre- 
sentation of living forms, turned the ingenuity and 
invention of the Arabic and Eastern designer in 
a purely ornamental direction, and as a result we 
get extremely elaborate patterns, either purely 
geometric, or. filling the interstices of a geometric 
framework in inlays and carved and pierced work. 
These patterns from the pulpit of a mosque at 
Cairo, now in the South Kensington Museum, work 
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, show how 
fine and delicate Arabic ornament became. We 
may note the star-shape formed by the intersection 
of the lines. The star is an emblem of the Deity 

The plateaus and slopes of the Himalayas, 
which are the northern mountainous boundary of 
India, were supposed to be the cradle of that great 
wandering, colonizing, adaptive, speculative, and 
organizing race, the Aryans, from which we 
Western people, according to one theory, have 
sprung, dispersing over the world, and settling in 
different countries and climates. The race has 
greatly differentiated in speech, customs, and forms 
of art ; and yet through them all it is rather differ- 
ences in similarities, or similarities in differences, 
that we trace. 

Latin, Teutonic, Celtic, suggest great diver- 
gences both in spirit and form, yet perhaps the 
correspondences are more frequent than the 
divergences. When we see how greatly members 




of the same family differ from one another in tastes 
and habits, can 'we wonder that members of the 
greater human family should be so different in 
tastes and habits, under different skies and condi- 
tions of life ? 

When we turn further east the difference seems 
greater, the gaps larger. The Mongolian race seems 
further apart and suggests a remoter antiquity. 
Their geographical remoteness and their persistent 
adhesion to their ancient customs seem to have 
fixed more or less of a gulf between them and the 
western peoples, and there is a corresponding 
contrast in the forms of their art. It is familiar, 
and yet- remains strange ; it has been constantly 
imported amongst us, and has more than once 
influenced European fashions in decorative design, 
as in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
through the Dutch, and in the last century in 
England in Chippendale furniture and porcelain, 
while China has given its name to the finer ware 
of the modern potter, of which it taught him the 
secret. To this day the willow pattern in blue 
upon plates and dishes, with its Chinese legend, 
scenery, and personages, remains a popular pattern, 
wonderfully little changed by its English translator. 
All the typical characteristics are found in its 
details, the typical Chinese house raised upon its 
first story of stone- with its bamboo trellises and 
quaintly curved tiled roof. The Chinese dragon 
remains a distinct breed, influencing here and 
there the form of the mythical beasts in design of 
other races, such as the Persian and Indian, but 
remaining as characteristically Chinese itself as 
the Pagoda. 





The love of trellis-like backgrounds and dia- 
gonal diapers for floral designs is a very marked 
feature with the Chinese designer, and it suggests 
the native fantastic and ingenious bamboo con- 
structions used in the framing and" panelling of 
their dwellings and temples, dominated by that 
distinct love of quaintness and queerness which 
seems a part of the artistic sense in the yellow 
race, and is as marked as their love of bright 
colour and emphatic pattern. 

Their formidable neighbours, relations, and 
rivals, the Japanese, exhibit in the art up to a 
certain stage much the same qualities and in- 
fluences, their art indicating a gradual transforma- 
tion in style from the primitive mythical and re- 
ligious and symbolical towards the more domestic, 
familiar, and naturalistic. But before coming into 
contact with European forms of art they began to 
develop a naturalistic feeling in their art which in 
the present century has become the dominant note, 
and, joined with a certain inventive quaintness 
and ornamental reserve, has had so tremendous 
an influence upon the art of Europe, more 
especially modern French art. 

Only about forty or fifty years ago Japan was 
practically in a mediaeval condition, its arts and 
handicrafts in a most fertile and flourishing condi- 
tion of living traditions ; but that very quickness 
and alertness, that receptivity and artistic im- 
pressionableness which has enabled them to 
produce such a mass of wonderful work in so many 
branches of cunning craftsmanship, have exposed 
them to the modern European influences, which, 
however they may-have, in. the process of' rapid 



assimilation, contributed to their material power 
as a nation in the modern capitalistic and industrial 
sense, have had most disastrous commercializing 
and deteriorating" effects upon Japanese art and 


handicraft, leading to hasty work and cheap and 
gaudy production merely to catch the demand. 

Artistic and racial traditions, however, diehard. 
Even in Western Europe, in constant intercourse 
and intercommunication as we now are, and while 



international influence tends to soften and blend 
racial differences, and social relations to mix them, 
elements which differentiate the Teuton from the 
Latin, the Celt from the Saxon, still survive. In 
the process of the adoption of even the same ideas 
each race, each nation, gives a different interpreta- 
tion to them, just as different individuals will give 
a different interpretation in drawing from the same 
model. The character is not changed by the 
new dress, and the dress becomes influenced by 
the wearer. Thus, in adopting ideas and forms 
of art, a new direction or character is developed 
owing to the racial instincts of the people adopting 

German Renascence work, for instance, may be 
full of details, the forms of which come from Italy 
or Greece, but the combination and treatment, the 
application of them, become characteristically 
German characteristically full of detail, and fan- 
tastic, with a tendency to be overloaded and rest- 
less, like their Gothic work. Such variations of 
the same type among different peoples may be 
likened to the variations of language in the same 
country, where the same language is spoken, but 
with a different accent. 

It is this difference of accent now, under our 
complex modern life, which makes the chief differ- 
ence in forms of art, and which betrays racial 
influence. The actual systems of building pattern, 
of pattern forms, methods of drawing and model- 
ling figures, and the various handicrafts have all 
been discovered long ago, but it is in their re- 
combination and adaptation our interpretation 
and use of them, and in the power of variation and 



expression, that modern invention and predilection 

It would be interesting to endeavour to symbo- 
lize the fundamental racial characteristics and 
preferences by certain typical forms and colours 
in procession. . 

The races inhabiting the warm countries, south- 
ern and eastern, would be distinguished by emphatic 
contrasting colours and patterns. Just as the tiger 
owes his barred coat to his habit of hiding in 
coverts and jungles, where the bright sunlight falls 
through the tall grasses and palms in .stripes ; so 
where the contrast of light and shade is so sharp 
as in Africa, there appears to be a deeply-rooted 
preference for barred colours and striped patterns 
among the dark race, which they have carried with 
them to America, .and which curiously reappears 
as a necessary part of the equipment of the sham 
Ethiopian serenader in our streets. 

The black and white or red and white barred 
courses characteristic of Arabian and Moorish 
architecture have been alluded to before, and, 
though they have been used in other countries, 
they always suggest the country which seems to 
have given them birth. 

Supposing, then, we wanted to express in a 
typical symbolical way the racial preferences and 
characteristics in ornamental art, a black and white 
barred shield and a palm might be appropriate 
pattern emblems for the African or the Moor ; 
while the Egyptian would naturally bear a lotus 
and a scarabseus, with a winged globe for a 
standard ; the Assyrian a tree of life ; the Persian 
would bear the flame-shaped flower, and the de- 



vice of Ormuzd and Ahrimanes contending for 
the mastery ; the Indian would carry the palmette 
and a peacock, and would share with the Arab 
the geometric star-form and richly floriated robes ; 
the Chinese would show the dragon blazon, and 
carry the peony ; the Japanese the red disk of the 
rising sun, and a bough of plum blossom ; the 
Turanian the crescent and the star ; the Greek the 
anthemion, and the figure of Pallas Athene ; the 
Roman an eagle standard, and an image of Mars ; 
the Scandinavian a raven, and a runic knot. 
These might represent the ancient world of art. 
The modern and western races it would be more 
difficult to symbolize in so primitive and typical a 
manner, since all of them have borrowed so largely 
from the ancient sources, and are themselves com- 
posed of such mixed and complex elements. 

Italian art could only be represented by a fusion 
of most of the foregoing elements and types, and 
would require a crowd of distinguished retainers 
in architecture, sculpture, painting, and all the 
arts of design ; but perhaps she might bear a 
typical classical scroll for a standard, as the typical 
designer of that form of ornament in so many 
varieties, from Roman times downwards, that 
Italy may be said to have made the scroll form 
essentially her own. 

Germany might follow, great in bold and brave 
heraldry, or with a Gothic accent in richly-scrolled 
mantling, and a redundant display of Renascence 

France, as a more volatile Pallas Athene, might, 
perhaps, bear the wavering lamp of executive and 
imitative skill, and dramatic instinct in design. 


Spain would look coquettishly under a fan, 
wrapped in faded embroidery, bearing" the Alham- 
bra, like a pendent jewel : while for England, 
what artistic emblems are left ? Well, we have 
been described as inveterate colonists, even in art. 
We can only make up in a fancy costume of 
historic patchwork, beginning with fragments of 
Roman mosaic pavement, by way of sandals, 
Saxon and Norman hose, Gothic surcoat and 
body armour, a classical cloak, and a Victorian 
Queen Anne gable by way of headgear, and 
perhaps a banner of eclectic wall-paper or printed 

For all that, and perhaps because of it in some 
measure did we take art seriously as a nation, 
and make it really a natural and essential part of 
our life, as it is its final expression ; should we 
determine to set our house in order, and make 
England again "merrie," strong in her own borders, 
self-supporting, and self-reliant, not suffering the 
natural beauty of our land or our historic monu- 
ments to be ruthlessly defaced, in the supposed 
interests of trade ; putting our trust in the capacity 
of the people, rather than in the multiplication of 
machines ; uniting hand and brain in our work, 
thinking more of the ends of life and less of the 
means, when the means of an ample, simple life 
shall be within the reach of every citizen, then, 
well then we might fairly expect to win the 
palm of life, as of art, without despoiling the 



THE desire to express and to communicate 
ideas seems to have impelled man from the 
earliest, and lies at the root of all art. 

While much early ornament, as we have seen, 
is traceable to a constructive origin, another kind, 
or another branch of the tree of design is traceable 
to a symbolic origin, and springs from the en- 
deavour to express thought to find a succinct 
language in which to express some sense of the 
great powers of nature, and their influence upon 
the daily life of man to embody even in a 
pictorial emblem, symbol, or allegory his primitive 
conceptions of the order of the universe itself. 

The mystery and wonders of nature absorbed 
the thoughts and touched the imagination of early 
as of later man, and primitive symbolic forms, or 
signs, constantly bear upon such ideas. 

There is a symbolic sign (known to archaeolo- 
gists as the fylfot or sauvastika) of very simple 
form, which is found very widely scattered among 
the relics of many different races and early peoples. 
" It is found, 1 ' says Dr. March (of the Lancashire 
and Cheshire Archaeological Society, who has 
written very suggestively and learnedly on the 


subject), " on archaic Greek pottery, on the stamped 
clay of Swiss lake dwellings, adorning Latin 
inscriptions on Roman altars "; is common in India 
and Asia ; is met with in Scandinavia, Iceland, 
Shetland, and Scotland ; in Celtic Ireland, in 
Saxon England, as well as in Germany. The 
sign was adopted by Christians, is found in the 
catacombs of Rome, in the cathedrals of Winchester 
and Exeter, on a shield in the Bayeux tapestry, 
and on English mediaeval brasses. It also occurs 
on a bell at Hathersage Church in Derbyshire, 
dated 1617. 

This sign appears to have originally signified 
the supreme god of the Aryans, and became the 
emblem of the divinity from whom emanates the 
one movement of the universe ; later, it may have 
merely indicated the axial rotation of the heavens 
round the Pole Star, and still later it was used 
simply as a benedictory sign or mark of good 
luck. When the feet were turned to the left the 
nocturnal movement of the stars was suggested, 
and when the feet turned to the right the diurnal 
movement of the sun was supposed to be indicated. 
The sign is frequently placed in a circle. A very 
few of its stages will suffice to show its transform- 
ation into ornament. We may thus see how a 
sign purely symbolical, used as we should use 
writing, becomes in course of time a decorative 
unit, and is incorporated Into ornament. A kin- 
dred form is composed of three crescents, which 
has its heraldic descendant in the three armoured 
legs of the bearings of the Isle of Man. Here we 
seem to see the idea of rotation very emphatically 

22 3 


The primitive symbols for fire and water found 
(as on the Danish bracteate] in association with 
the fylfot sign shown above, form linear patterns 


r^ta.v > ACCORD tsrft 





Vfcfbr . SVAT6R. 

in themselves, and frequently recur in constructive 
and surface ornament ; the former suggesting the 
method of setting the Roman bricks, called 



11 herring bone," which constantly occurs in modern 
work in'brick paving and wood parquet, forming 




one of the simplest and most satisfactory plans for 
floors and pavings in such materials. 

225 Q 


The zigzag, as an ornament incised on clay 
vessels painted in patterns, or carved in masonry, 
has been a very favourite form from the ancient 
Egyptian decorators (to whom it possessed its 
original significance as water) onwards, becoming 
in later times more particularly characteristic of 
Scandinavian ornament and Romanesque archi- 
tecture. The zigzag, however, appears to have 
an independent source and meaning in the evolu- 
tion of Polynesian ornament. In the so-called 
" Paddles/ 5 decorated with carved patterns which 
are now considered to be really tables of descent, 
we may see rows of human figures arranged for- 
mally, the legs and arms bent. The angles thus 
formed, in the course of repetition and abbrevia- 
tion, become simple lines of zigzag pattern. 

The circle, a universal and important element 
in ornamental design of all times and kinds, appears 
early as a symbol for the sun. We might trace 
it from its primitive cross and disk and rayed 
ornament common to all primitive art to the 
splendid Greek conception of Phoebus Apollo in 
his chariot drawn by fiery horses, which figures 
so constantly in Greek design, the circular flaming 
disk being represented in the wheel, though in an 
early relief discovered by Dr. Schliemann the head 
of Apollo is surrounded by rays, which gives the 
type generally used by Gothic and modern de- 
signers in symbolic representations of the sun 
simply a face in the circle surrounded by rays. 

Another means of symbolical expression by the 
ue of the circle is to be found in a type of 
Scandinavian ornament composed of three circles, 
one within the other, which with the rayed sun 



frequently occurs either singly, as in the form of 
a metal shield boss or a fibula, or as the unit of a 
repeating textile pattern, or as a border. An 
Anglo-Saxon lady in a Bene- 
dictional executed for St. Ethel- 
wold at Winchester in the tenth 
century (963-984) wears a dress 
so decorated. The original 
symbolic meaning of this orna- 
ment is sup- 
posed to bear 
upon the 
N orsernen's 
conception of 
the universe, 
the inner cir- 
cle, represent- 
ing the mid- 
gard, or the 
earth ; the 
second, the 

osgard, or asgard, the abode of 
the gods; and the iitgard> the 
world beyond, inhabited by 
giants and spirits of evil. Be- 
yond the outer circle is a circle 
of dots signifying stars. (See 
fig. on p. 224.) 

The old Norse sagas and the 
songs of Edda give the whole 
Norse scheme of the universe, 
great ash tree of the universe of time and of 
life. The boughs stretched out into heaven, 
its highest point, and overshadowed Walhalla, 



" Igdrasil, the 

the hall of the heroes. Its three roots reached 
down to dark Hel, to Jotunheim, the land of the 
Hrimthurses, and to Midgard, the dwelling-place 
of the children of men. The world-tree was 
ever green, for the fateful Norns sprinkled it 
daily with the water of life from the fountain of 
Urd, which flowed in Midgard. But the goat 
Heidrun, from whom was obtained the mead that 
nourished the heroes, and the stag Eikthynir 
browsed upon the leaf-buds, and upon the bark of 
the tree, while the roots down below are gnawed 
by the dragon Nidhogg and innumerable worms : 
still the ash could not wither until the last battle 
should be fought, where life, time and the world 
were all to pass away. So the eagle sang its song 
of creation and destruction on the highest branch 
of the tree." l 

It is interesting to compare such a conception 
with the ancient Hindu idea of the world, which 
indeed may have been its original form as the 
earlier Aryan conception. There is no tree, but 
the great snake' of time, compasses all ; the serpent 
with its tail in its mouth, an- emblem of continuous 
time which still survives. Upon this rests the 
tortoise, which seems to correspond with the 
Norsemen's dragon, though here it may serve as 
the solid basis of the world. The world appears 
as a sort of dome in three tiers, reminding us of 
the Norsemen's three circles. This is supported 
upon the backs of three elephants, which seem 
here to fill the position of the Norns or the 

1 " Asgard and the Gods." DR. WAGNER. 

The ash tree Igdrasil, the sustainer of the 
Norse universe, reminds one of the eastern tree 
of life the tree of life of the garden of Eden, and 
the fountain of the rivers of the Asiatic paradise 
which, with the figures of Adam and Eve, the 
typical father and mother of the whole human race, 
have so constantly figured in art of all kinds, both 


eastern and western, and continue to stand in the 
midst of the garden in endless designs and pictures, 
surrounded by the birds and beasts, as. the type 
and emblem of the origin of the world in the 
Christian cosmos. 

The ancient Egyptians, whose art was almost 
entirely in the nature of a symbolic language, 
when they wished to express the divine creative 
power which sustains the universe, designed a 

winged globe encircled or upborne by two ser- 
pents here we get, perhaps, the snake of time 
again. Sometimes the scarabaeus, or sacred 
beetle, emblem of transformation and immortality, 
is represented covering an egg and supporting 
the sun, and they are the wings of the scarabaeus 
which are given to the globe. This emblem is 
frequently carved over the gateways to their 

Then the Egyptians had an elaborate symbolism 
connected with death and the passage of the soul. 
The coffins and i mummy cases are painted all over 
with symbolic devices, figures, birds, and animals 
having a sacred significance. 

The soul is commonly represented as being 
borne in a boat, or barge, with curved stem and 
stern, terminating in lotus flowers. (The lotus 
symbolized new birth and resurrection.) The 
food for the journey is shown in the urns placed 
underneath the couch. Two mourners or watchers 
accompany it. 

There is a copy of a large painting from Thebes 
in the British Museum showing the judgment of 
the soul ; the Devourer, a. monster part crocodile 
part hippopotamus, standing ready to devour the 
soul if the verdict is unfavourable. Further on 
the accepted soul appears before Osiris. 

The goddess Nut (the heavens) is frequently 
painted upon the sarcophagi and mummy cases in 
the form of a seated or kneeling fio-ure fa woman 

o o 

with very large wings outspread and curving up- 
wards ; she holds in her hands the feather the 
symbol of power or domination. (We still speak of 
the feather in the cap.) She bears the disk of 






the sun upon her head. To the Egyptians, indeed, 
we owe the very embodiment of the mystery of 
existence itself the sphinx who continues to pro- 
pound her riddle afresh to every age. 

Greek mythology again, as exemplified in 
Greek art, expresses itself symbolically, and shows 
a gradual development from the primitive, ruder, 
and often savage personification of the powers of 
nature, more allied to the conceptions of the 
Northmen, to the idealized, refined, poetic and 
beautiful personifications of their later vase paint- 
ing and Phidian sculpture. The symbolic inten- 
tion and the personifying method was carried on 
and embodied in free and natural forms, though 
always governed by the ornamental feeling and 
necessities of harmonious relation to architectural 
and decorative conditions. 

The first observers of the heavens, the primitive 
herdsman, hunter, the fisherman and the shepherd, 
have left their symbolic heraldry in the very stars 
above our heads; and Charles's or ceorls' wain 
and the signs of the zodiac still remind us of the 
primitive life of a pastoral and agricultural people. 

The pediments of the Parthenon, for instance, 
are great pieces of symbolical art, and at the same 
time most beautiful as figure design and sculpture. 
It is distressing to think that so late as 1687 the 
Parthenon was practically complete as far as its 
sculpture and architecture. It was first used as a 
Greek Christian Church during the Middle Ages, 
and then, falling into the hands of the Turks, 
became a mosque ; when the Venetians bombarded 
Athens in 1687 a shell dropped into the Par- 
thenon, where the Turks had stored their powder, 



and blew out the whole centre of the building. 
Even in the broken and imperfect state in which 
we are now only able to see them, from the more 
or less complete figures and groups which compose 
its parts, we can gather an idea of the harmony 
and unity of the whole, and the complete union of 
the symbolism with the artistic treatment. The 
whole conception strongly appealed to the senti- 
ment of the Athenian citizen, since the two pedi- 
ments represented the contest of Athene and 
Poseidon for the patronage of Athens, arts and 
laws, or the rule of the sea. We all know that 
the arts and laws won, and that Athens is immortal 
by reason of her art and poetry and philosophy, 
not by her command of the sea. We modern 
English, perhaps, might do well to apply the 
lesson, and consider that after all it is not in 
mere appropriation of riches, extension of empire, 
material prosperity, or in our volume of trade, that 
the true greatness of a country consists, but in the 
capacity and heroism of her people. 

In the eastern pediment the centre group ex- 
pressed the birth of Athene herself, or rather her 
first appearance amongst the Olympians the 
divine virgin deity and protectress of the city 
which bore her name, and whose colossal statue 
in ivory and gold stood on the Acropolis in front 
of the Parthenon. The other deities are grouped 
around, and on one side we have the Parcse, the 
three fates controlling the life of man (which the 
Northmen embodied in the Noras); then, reclining 
at one side where the pediment narrows, the figure 
of the great Athenian hero, Theseus ; and in the 
extreme angle the sun-god, 'Helios, with out- 

2 33 


stretched arms is seen guiding his horses, which 
emerge from the sea being balanced at the corre- 
sponding angle by Selene, the moon, descending 
with her horses into the sea. Thus, we have a 
series of ideas expressed symbolically in heroic 
figures of deep import to the Athenians, and having 
also in the suggestion of the fateful control of 
human life, and the continuous order of nature in 
the rising sun and setting moon, a wide and lasting 
significance apart from the beautiful form and con- 
summate art by which they are embodied. 

The Parthenon stands high upon a rocky emin- 
ence, and from its western door you can see the 
blue ^Egean Sea, the island of Salamis, and the 
harbour of Athens, the Piraeus. Accordingly the 
sea-god Poseidon is sculptured upon the western 
pediment, with Cecrops, the first king and founder 
of Athens, with the queen. Another conspicuous 
figure there is the reclining figure of Ilissus, who 
represents the stream that flows around the west- 
ern side of the Acropolis. The Greeks, and the 
Romans who borrowed from them, always sym- 
bolized a stream or a fountain by a reclining figure, 
half turned upon its side, and very frequently lean- 
ing upon an urn placed horizontally, from the 
mouth of which flows the wavy lines of water. 

There is in the Vatican a Roman representation 
of the River Nile as a colossal reclining figure 
with long flowing hair and beard, like Zeus or 
Poseidon, holding a paddled H is tributaries being 
represented by a number of small Cupid-like boys, 
who clamber and play about him, or nestle at his 
side. The land of Egypt is typified by the sphinx 
upon which the figure leans. 



Father Thames has often figured in " Punch " 
depicted by John Tenniel as an old man with long 
hair and beard, not unlike his prototype, but some- 
what degraded and worse for wear. 

The Greek gods, too, and their Roman re- 
presentatives were each distinguished by their 
proper and appropriate emblems, as well as by 
marked differences of character and physical 

Chronos, or Time, afterwards Saturn, is always 
known by his scythe ; Zeus or Jupiter, the Thun- 
derer, by his thunderbolt ; Poseidon or Neptune 
by his trident; Helios by his horses, and Apollo 
by his bow ; Aphrodite or Venus by the golden 
apple won by the most beautiful ; Pallas Athene, 
or the Roman Minerva, as goddess of the arts, by 
her serpent, her lamp, and her owl of wisdom ; 
Artemis or Diana by the crescent moon ; Hermes 
or Mercury by his caduceus the serpent-twined 
staff, which has in modern times become an em- 
blem of commerce since Mercury was the mes- 
senger, the fetcher and carrier of the ancients, 
quick-witted and keen, and, according to some 
legends, not over scrupulous. His rod and ser- 
pents have reference to the story of his parting 
two snakes in combat, in which might be read a 
modern meaning of the individual gaining fortune 
through commercial competition, though that is 
not its usual signification. I only offer it as an 
example of reading a new meaning into an ancient 
symbol. Then, of course, Heracles or Hercules 
bears the apples of the Hesperides, or the Nemean 
lion's skin and his club. In the Hesperides story 
of the dragon-guarded tree of golden apples, and 

2 3 6 


its three guardian sisters, we seem to have another 
form of the tree of life and the fates. An interest- 
ing Greek relievo in marble, enriched with mosaic 
in parts, at Wilton House, shows the Hesperidean 



tree with the apples, and twined with the guardian 
serpent, with Paris seated and Aphrodite approach- 
Ing as if asking for the apple the prize of the 
most fair. 

In the ancient Greek story of Pandora and her 
box so suggestive a subject to artists, and fruitful 



in art we have the classical version of the fall 

of man and origin of evil. 

In the no less picturesque and poetical story of 
Persephone (or Proserpina), the daughter of Ceres, 
carried away by Pluto, the king of the underworld, 
darkness, and death, we have a beautiful allegory 
of the spring and the winter, since Persephone 
was allowed to return every year to the earth for 
a season, after she had eaten of the fatal pome- 
granate tree which grew in Pluto's garden. 

One might multiply instances of the symbolic 
character of classical story and its symbolic em- 
bodiment in Greek and Roman art, but we must 
pass on to touch upon other sources and aspects 
of symbolism and emblem in art. 

We know that many of our old fairy tales have 
a symbolical origin in ancient mythology, and have 
taken new and varied forms and local colours as 
they have travelled from their southern and eastern 
homes, and become naturalized in the art and 
literatures of different countries. 

In such tales as " Jack and the Beanstalk " and 
"The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood," the climbing 
hero ascending the heavens to destroy the giant 
of darkness, in the first, the hero penetrating the 
darkness and awakening his destined bride from 
her enchanted sleep, in the second, for instance, 
the old solar mythology has been traced, and if we 
could trace the old folk tales back to their sources 
we might find them all related to primitive myth- 
ology or hero and ancestor worship. Thus do 
the spirits of the remote past sit at our firesides 
still, and kindle the imagination of our little folks : 
and in the rich tapestry of story and picture which 



each age weaves around it, elements from many 
different sources are continually and almost in- 
extricably interwoven, as if the warp of human 
wonder and imagination was crossed with many 
coloured threads of mythological lore, history and 
allegory, symbolism and romance. 

The early Christians, no less than the pagans, 
felt the necessity for symbols of their faith; and 
while at first borrowing considerably, and in- 
corporating in their art forms belonging to the 
other faith they were supplanting, gradually, with 
the rise of power and influence, emblems more 
peculiarly belonging to an expression of the 
Christian ideal were adopted, or underwent con- 
siderable transformation. The design met with 
in the mosaics of the sixth century at Ravenna, 
the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, of the two stags 
drinking from a fountain, embodying the Psalmist's 
verse beginning, "As the hart panteth for the 
water brooks/' although from the imagery of the 
older Scriptures, became an emblem of Christianity. 
The peacock appears, too, in Byzantine art, carved 
upon stone sarcophagi as an emblem of immortal 
life, either from the many eyes its feathers always 
open, or more probably because the eye feathers 
are shed and renew themselves every year. The 
vine, too, appears constantly as a Christian em- 
blem, although with the Greeks it was sacred to 
Dionysos, and represented to them the divine, 
life-giving earth-spirit continually renewing itself, 
and bringing joy to men. 

Although the symbolic use no less than the 
decorative beauty of winged figures had long "ago 
been recognized, as Asiatic, Egyptian, and Greek 

2 39 


Brvgi Photo.} 


Srogi Photo.} 



art show, yet the Christian angel, both in its re- 
fined, half-classical form, as developed by the early 
Italian painters and sculptors from the thirteenth 
century onwards, and in northern Gothic work, 
became a distinct and beautiful type in art. In 
the work of Fra Angelico and Benozzo Gozzoli 
the angel figures are especially lovely. 

No less distinct in its grotesqueness was the 
mediaeval devil, although its origin was very pro- 
bably the satyr of ancient classical art The 
Roman satyr, with goat-legs and hoofs, bearded 
head, horns, and tail, furnishes, in fact, a very close 
prototype; and, being banned long ago as pagan 
when Christianity was in hand-to-hand conflict 
with paganism, would be sufficient to associate 
such a form with evil. There are some fiends 
represented in Orcagna's fresco, " The Triumph of 
Death/' which are quite satyr-like, despite talons 
and bats' wings. Although with the Greeks the 
great god Pan is a mild and gentle deity -enough, 
and though of the earth earthy, in a sense, yet as 
symbolical of spontaneous nature, and simple ani- 
mal existence, piping on his reeds by the riverside, 
he always remains a favourite with the poet and 
the artist. Signorelli, for instance, in a beautiful 
picture (which our National Gallery somehow 
missed the opportunity of acquiring), gives a fine 
presentment of him. 

It is interesting to compare the mediaeval em- 
bodiments of evil with the ancient Persian sym- 
bolical representation of a combat of a king with a 
griffin, which may represent the conflict of Ormuzd 
and Ahrimanes as the typical principles or em- 
bodied powers of good and of evil, 



The creature (representing evil) is winged, and 
has birds' claws for its hind feet (like Orcagna's 
fiends), and lions' paws for its fore feet, the body 
of an ox or horse, the beak of an eagle or griffin, 
in some instances, in others it appears with a bull's 
head, and is certainly suggestive of power and 

The favourite Greek conception of the centaur, 
too, is an expressive symbolic embodiment of ani- 
mal force, and the mythical sculptural combat in 
the metopes of the Parthenon is again suggestive 
of the conflict between the higher and the lower 
elements of human nature. 

Returning again to Christian art, we find the 
image of the lamb, with the banner of the cross, was 
the badge of the Templar ; and we find abundant 
symbolism in the various emblems and attributes 
of the apostles, saints, and martyrs, distinguished 
by the various emblems of their evangel, conver- 
sion, or martyrdom. The mystic symbols of the 
four evangelists are well known to every eccle- 
siastical designer the angel of St. Matthew, the 
lion of St. Mark, the bull of St. Luke, the eagle 
of St. John. 

The winged lion of St. Mark has become the 
distinguishing badge of the city of Venice, since the 
evangelist was supposed to be buried in the great 
church dedicated to his name. Its image in bronze 
upon the column in the Piazza impresses itself upon 
the eye and imagination of every visitor, while upon 
the companion columns we see the patron saint of 
the ancient republic St. Isidore, with thecrocodile. 
Placed there in 1 3 2 9 , th e statue recalls the early days 
of Venice, and suggests its connection with the East. 


TTTT-. n -'mnmrnrTii iW^nm^jij 


From Perrot .Ctaip;e?-Hist.of . 

rJa*irm <* Coste 



Now national heraldry is often derived from 
the bearings of families or chiefs. Of such is our 
royal standard with its Plantagenet leopards and 
red lion of the Scottish kings. Though in the 
Irish harp we seem to get a purely national em- 
blem, strictly speaking it is the heraldic bearing 
of one of the four provinces Leinster. 

These heraldic bearings and badges had their 
origin in very remote times, and take us back 
to earliest forms of human society, to the gens, 
and the tribe, who named themselves after some 
animal or plant, and adopted it as the distinguish- 
ing mark and ensign of the family to which they 
belonged, or to such primitive times as we read 
of in Mr. William Morris's " Roots of the Moun- 
tains '" and " House of the Wolfings," where he 
speaks of " The House of the Steer" and " The 
House of the Raven." The distinguishing badges 
would be carved or painted over the porch, and 
borne upon the shield of the chief and the banner 
in battle. 

In feudal times the practice was continued until 
family heraldry, owing to intermarriage, became 
very complicated, and family shields much quartered. 

Distinctness and definite characterization of 
form were highly necessary, since in battle it was 
important to distinguish your enemies from your 
friends, and the banner of the chieftain, the knight, 
or king, would be the rallying point for their fol- 
lowers and retainers. 

Heraldry became regulated . by strict rules, and 
is now called a science, though its vitality and 
meaning have departed, except in an antiquarian 
and archaeological -senge. It has, however, a cer- 



* OF- SH 1 ELDS* 

Shield (Scu-tum.; 
- * ' -olomn. 



tain decorative value to the designer, as illustrating 
the principle of counterchange of colours, and from 
the heraldry of the mediaeval period much may be 
learned in point of decorative treatment. 

The shield itself varies considerably in form. 
There is the round shield of the ancients used 
both by Greeks and Norsemen. This with the 
Greeks had pieces cut out at the sides sometimes. 
There was also a moon-shaped shield, similar in 
form to the shield used by our old invaders the 
Danes. Then we get the parallelogram, kite- 
shaped and oval shields of the Romans; the kite- 
shaped shield of the Normans ; the lancet pointed 
shield, cut square at the top, of the first crusades. 
The Gothic shield becomes more variously hol- 
lowed and shaped with the development of plate 
armour, and in the fifteenth century frequently has 
a space cut out on the outer edge to allow of the 
tilting lance of the knight passing through without 
interfering with the guard. In Renascerice times 
there was a revival of classical and fanciful forms 
in shields, and a return to its original form in the 
escutcheon, the term being derived from the Latin 
(cutis) word for skin or hide, which covered the 
ancient shields : but with the use of fire-arms 
shields declined, until the small steel buckler for 
the short-sword became its last working repre- 

The character and the art of heraldic devices 
varies very much according to these changes in 
methods of warfare, and was also affected by the 
state of the arts generally. 

We have only to compare the bold and frank 
heraldry of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 




with the coach- painters heraldry of the present 
to realize the great change in feeling. Compare 
a Plantagenet lion with a Victorian one, a mediaeval 
griffin with a nineteenth century specimen. 

The Gothic heraldic designer felt he must be 
simple and bold for the sake both of distinctness 
and ornamental effect. He emphasized certain 
features of his animals : he insisted very much, 
for instance, upon the claws of the lion, its mane 
and tail, its open mouth and tongue ; in short, he 
felt it was his first business to make a bold and 
striking pattern, and whatever the forms of his 
heraldry, they were controlled by this feeling. 

Heraldic devices formed a large part or the 
ornamental design of the Middle Ages in all kinds 
of materials. They were abundantly ^used in 
dress patterns and in hangings and textiles of all 
kinds. In the beautiful Sicilian silk stuffs, for 
instance, a leading feature of the repeat often con- 
sists of an emblematic or heraldic device of animals 
or birds, which give character and agreeable 
massiveness to the pattern. 

Mediaeval brasses afford many beautiful exam- 
ples of heraldic treatment. Indeed, for ornamental 
feeling, expressed by very simple means and 
under very limited conditions, those of the thir- 
teenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries afford, 
beautiful instances, which may be most profitably 
studied by designers of all kinds. Mr. Creeny's 
book on the Continental brasses may be recom- 
mended as containing many very beautiful examples 
from his own rubbings, notably from Belgium. 
Two specimens are given in Chapter VIII. 

But the love of symbol and emblem did not 


expire with the vigour of heraldic design. Indeed, 
a certain impetus was given to it by the invention 
of printing, which, diverting it into another channel, 
seemed to give it fresh life in association with 
literature. The sixteenth century was remarkable 
for its love of allegory and emblem, which was no 
doubt stimulated by the opening up of the stores 


(From Alciati's " Emblems, 3 ' 1522.) 

of classical lore at the Renascence, and by the 
general stir and activity of thought of a time of 
transition, when new and old ideas were in conflict 
or in process of fusion. Life was full of variety, 
contrast, hope, fear, strife, love, art, romance and 
poetry, learning and the beginnings of scientific 
discovery. Out of the seethings of such elements, 
joined with the relics of mediaeval nawetS and 
quaintness, came into existence the emblem book, 

2 53 

which offered compact pictorial epigrams, by means 
of the woodcut and the printing press, to fit every 
phase of human life, thought, and vicissitude. 

Holbein's " Dance of Death " was really a book 
of emblems, and the subject was a favourite one 
with the German sixteenth century designers. 
Very ancient ideas reappeared in these books, 
unearthed by scholars, from all sorts of sources, 
from the ancient Egyptians onwards. Such de- 


(From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.) 

signs as those of the pelican feeding its young from 
its own breast, and the stork carrying its parent 
on its back, constantly reappear; and also the 
bees making their hive in a helmet, with the motto 
Ex hello pax, which reminds one of Samson's 
riddle of sweetness and strength. 

The device of the crab, too, with a butterfly 
between its claws, and the motto Festina lente 
hasten slowly- is a favourite. The phoenix, 
also, borrowed from ancient Egypt, but nowadays 
generally associated with life insurance. Fortune, 



with the sail of a ship standing on a globe, and 
sometimes a wheel, floating in a tempestuous sea, 
to express her fickleness and uncertainty, often 
appears. The fate of Ambition, in the fable of 
Phaeton falling from Apollo's car; the snake in 
the grass Latet anguis in kerba ; labour in vain, 
a man pouring water into a sieve, the sieve held 


(From Alciatl's "Emblems," 1522.) 

by blindfold Love, also figures; the ass loaded 
with dainties and rich food, but stooping to eat 
the thistle by the wayside, appears as a symbol of 
Avarice. /Esop's fables were utilized, and classical 
mythology, in fact all was fish to the moral net of 
the emblem designer, and the multiplication of such 
collections in printed books is evidence of the 
moralizing, philosophizing tendency of the times, 
and the love of personifying and imaging ideas, 



Elaborate designs, such as one of Romeyn de 
Hooghe (1670) following the tablet of Cebes, 
B.C. 390, or the Latin version of 1507 allegorizing 
human life as a whole, from birth to death, under 
the device of a labyrinth or maze, with figures 
wandering about in its walks, under different 
influences, down to simple devices like the moth 


(From Alciati's "Emblems," 1522.) 

and the candle, are comprehended in these emblem 
books ; but it is only reducing to small compass 
and to compact, portable, and popular form the 
same spirit of quaint invention which covered the 
walls and ceilings of great houses and public halls 
and tapestries with personifications, like the splen- 
did series of the " Triumphs" of Petrarch, Love, 
Time, Death,and Chastityin our National Museum 


at South Kensington, as well as endless embodi-" 
ments of the seasons, the senses, the virtues, and 
the vices. Emblematic art, however, like heraldry, 
became overlaid with pedantry, and its artistic 
interest died when its form became prescribed, and 
precedent and rule took the place of original 

The chief scope for symbol and emblem in our 
time lies in the province of decorative design, 
which in its highest forms may be regarded as the 
metre or poetry of art. The designer, like the 
poet, rejoices in certain limitations, which, while 
they fix and control his form and treatment, leave 
him extraordinary freedom in dealing suggestively 
with themes difficult or impossible to be approached 
in purely naturalistic form. 

It is true we find emblematic art in very stiff 
and degraded forms, and applied to quite humdrum 
purposes. It is largely used in commerce, for 
instance, and one may find classical fable and 
symbolism reduced to a trade mark or a poster. 
Still trade marks, after all, fill the place, in our 
modern commercial war, of the old knightly 
heraldry shorn of its splendour and romance, 
certainly and given trade marks and posters 
they might as well be designed, and would serve 
their purpose more effectively if they were treated 
more according to the principles of mediaeval 
heraldry, since they would gain at once character, 
distinctness, and decorative effect 

Allegorical art has, too, a modern popular form 
in the region of political satire and caricature, 
often potent to stir or to concentrate political feel- 
ing. This is almost a distinct province, to which 

257 , s 


many able and vigorous artists devote their lives 

and show their invention in the effective way in 

which the political situation is put into some piece 

of familiar symbolism which all can recognize and 


In the region of poetic design symbolism must 
always hold its place. When the artist desires to 
soar a little above the passing moment to suggest 
the past, to peer into the future ; when he looks 
at human life as a complete whole, and the life of 
the race as an unbroken chain ; when he would 
deal with thoughts of man's origin and destiny, of 
the powers and passions that sway him, of love, 
of hope and fear, of the mystery of life and nature, 
the drama of the seasons, he must use figurative 
language, and seek the beautiful and permanent 
images of emblematic design. 



graphic influence!" my readers may 
exclaim, u what existence has design apart 
from this, since the depicting power with what- 
ever pencil, brush, modelling tool, chisel, pen is by 
its very nature bound up with it ? " 

That is quite true, yet for all that there is 
discernible a very distinct line of cleavage in art, 
a distinction of spirit and aim which seems to have 
divided or characterized artists and epochs from 
the very earliest. 

I have often alluded to the drawings of the 
prehistoric cave men. These graphic outlines of 
animals, although generally incised upon the 
handles of weapons, always appear to me to 
indicate the purely naturalistic aim as distinct 
from the ornamental sense, as if the first object of 
the primitive artist had been to get as exact a 
profile as possible of the animals he knew ; just as 
a modern artist, with superior facilities of pencil 
and paper, might make sketches at the Zoological 
Gardens without any idea of making them parts 
of a decorative design. The main difference 
seems to be that in purely graphic or naturalistic 
drawing individual characteristics or differences 

* ' ' ' . -259 



are sought for, while in ornamental or decorative 
drawing typical forms or correspondences axe sought 

In the course of the development of historic art 
in different countries and among different peoples, 
under different social and political systems, we 


may yet discern a kind of strife for ascendency 
between these two principles, which still divide 
the world of art ; and though in the most perfect 
art the two are found reconciled and harmonized, 
as being really two sides of the same question, 
the general feeling for art seems to swing from 
one side to the other, like the tides in ebb and 
flow. At one time human feeling in art seeks to 



perpetuate types, symbols, and emblems of the 
wonder of life and the mysteries of the universe, 
as in the art of ancient Egypt. At another its 
interest is absorbed in the representation of 
individual characteristics and varieties, striving to 
follow nature through her endless subtleties and 
transformations, as in our own day ; when the 
different aims inspiring our artists might be set 
down as 

(r) The desire to realize, or to represent 
things as they are. 

(2) The desire to realize, or to represent 

things as they appear to be. 

Under whatever differences of method or material, 
I believe it will be found that this real difference 
of mental attitude behind them accounts for the 
varieties we see, that is to say, in any genuine 
and thoughtful work. 

Every sincere artist naturally desires to realize 
his conception to the best of his ability, in the 
most harmonious and forceful way ; but in the 
course of the development of a work of art of any 
kind there are problems to be solved at every 

Is it a piece of repeating surface ornament we 
are designing ? We feel we must subordinate parts 
to the whole, we must see that our leading 
structural lines are harmonious, we cannot empha- 
size a bit of detail without reference to the total 
effect. We may find the design wants simplifying, 
and have to strike out even some element of 
beauty. Such sacrifices are frequently necessary. 
Our love of naturalism may induce us to work up 
our details, our leaves and flowers, to vie with 



natural appearance in full light and relief, until 
we find we are losing the repose and sense of 
quiet planes essential to pattern work, and getting 
beyond the capacities of our material, so that we 
may realize that even skill and graphic power 
may be inartistic if wrongly applied or wasted in 
inappropriate places. 

Is it a landscape we desire to transcribe or 
express upon paper or canvas ? Sun and shadow 
flit across it, changing every moment dark to 
light and light to dark, so that the general 
emphasis and expression of the scene constantly 
vary, like the expression of a human face, as we 
watch it. Which shall we choose ? Which seems 
the most expressive, the most beautiful? Again, 
shall we content ourselves with a general super- 
ficial impression, leaving details vague ? Shall 
we aim at truth of tone, or truth of local colour ? 
Shall we dwell on the lines of the composition ? 
Shall we spend all our care upon getting the planes 
right, or rely for our main interest upon light and 
shade and delicate definition of detail ? 

All these different problems belong to graphic 
representation of nature, to graphic methods of 
drawing and design, and the work of different 
artists is distinguished usually by the way in 
which they seem to feel the particular aspect or 
truth on which they mostly dwell in their work. 

Even the most abstract symbolic or ornamental 
drawing in pure outline must have some graphic 
quality, though intentionally limited to the expres- 
sion of few facts. 

The method by which an ancient Egyptian 
painter or hieroglyphic carver blocked out a 


vulture or a hawk, relying either solely on truth 
of mass or silhouette, or on outline and emphatic 
marking of the masses of the plumage, or the 
salient characteristics, such as claws and beak, 
although extremely abstract, was full of natural 
truth and fact as far as it went, and left no doubt 
as to the birds depicted. 

Something of the same kind of quality is found 
in Japanese drawings of birds, with less severity 

and monumental feeling. The graphic or natura- 
listic feeling is strongest and the individual acci- 
dents are dwelt upon. In modern European 
natural history drawings of birds and animals, we 
often lose this bold graphic sense of character in 
the general aspect, while small superficial details 
of plumage and textures are carefully attended to. 
There is often less life though actually more 
likeness. The general tendency in the develop- 
ment of the art of a people seems to have been 
from the formal, monumental, and symbolic type 



llJi UJK.ArJH.lL, IIN F Ju U IldN L,JS 

of representation and design in strict relation to 
architectural structure and decoration, towards 
freer naturalism, individual portraiture, and a 
looser graphic style. 

We may trace this tendency even in the strictly 


monumental and stereotyped art of ancient Egypt, 
which notably in the portrait sculpture even of 
the ancient empire is remarkable for extraordinary 
realism ; and in the wall paintings of the later 
period of the Theban empire (as in the tomb of 
Beni Hasan), which show considerable freedom 
and vitality. 







A most notable example of realism is the 
famous "Scribe" in the Louvre, a coloured 
statuette, believed to date from the fifth or sixth 
dynasty, of extraordinary vitality. The eyes con- 
sist of an iris of rock crystal, surmounting a 
metal pupil, and set in an eyeball of opaque 
white quartz. 

Greek sculpture, again, shows a gradual deve- 
lopment from the archaic period, in which it 
resembles early Asiatic art, up to the refinement, 
freedom, and beauty of design of the Phidian 
period, when the balance between naturalistic 
feeling and monumental feeling appears to have 
been perfect. Then later, as the result of a desire 
for more obvious naturalism and dramatic expres- 
sion, we get quite a different feeling in the sculptures 
of the frieze of the great altar at Pergamos, which 
represents the strife of the gods and the Titans 
a tremendous subject, worked out with extraordi- 
nary power, skill, and learning in alto relievo ; but 
despite the energy and dramatic movement, after 
the delicacy and reposeful beauty of the Parthenon 
sculptures, we feel that these qualities have been 
gained at a considerable cost and loss; but it is 
interesting as representing the more realistic and 
dramatic side of Greek art. 1 

But the grace and charm of Greek art never 
seemed really to die out. All the best Roman 
art was inspired by it, if not actually carried out 
by Greek artists; and, owing to Greek colonies, 
Greek traditions had long been naturalized in 

1 The original slabs are in the Berlin Museum, but casts of 
some may be seen at South Kensington. 






Italy, where they found a congenial soil. Fine 
portrait sculpture was done in the imperial period 
as the Augustus and the head of Julius Caesar and 
many other well-known busts testify. Also the 
truth and beauty of some of their animal sculpture 
we may see in the fine style of the frieze of 
sacrificial animals discovered in 1872 in the 
Forum. We seem to see the Greek spirit in the 
decorative splendour of the Byzantine period, and 
again, in Italian dress, inspiring the painters and 
sculptors of the early Renascence, in the work or 
Giotto, Ghiberti, and Donatello for instance. 
With the development of Gothic architecture in 
the thirteenth century a new and distinct feeling 
for naturalism arose, which influenced through 
architecture all the arts of design. In fact, all 
through the Gothic period design seems to have 
had more the character of a vital organic growth, 
controlled by a certain tradition and the influence 
of architectural style, yet within these limits and 
those of the material 'of its expression developing 
an extraordinary freedom both of invention and 
graphic power, which culminated at the end of 
the fifteenth century, or was perhaps absorbed by 
the classicism of the Renascence. Thirteenth 
century Gothic sculpture at its best, as we find it 
in France, has almost the simplicity, grace, and 
natural feeling of Greek work. This may be seen 
in the figures from the west front of Auxerre 
Cathedral, and also in the porch of Amiens ; and 
in the portrait effigies of this period and onwards 
through the three centuries in those of. our own 
cathedrals and churches we find abundant evidence 
of graphic power in careful and characteristic 













portraiture, united with beauty of design in detail 
and decorative effect. 


What we should call realism comes out wonder- 
fully in the treatment of the statue of St. Martha at 
St. Urbain, Troyes, a work of the fifteenth century. 

273 T 


Gothic art, too, was a familiar art, intimate and 
sympathetic with human life in all its varieties. 

In the beautiful illuminated Psalters, Missals, 
Books of Hours, and chronicles of the Middle 
Ao^es, the life of those days is presented in bright 
and vivid colours. We see the labourers at 
work in the fields, ploughing, sowing, reaping, 
threshing, treading the wine-press. We see the 
huntsman, the fisherman, and the shepherd; the 
scribe at his work, the saint at his prayers, the 
knight at arms. The splendour and pomp of 
jousts and tournaments, with all their bright 
colour and quaint heraldry; we see the king in 
his ermine, and the beggar in his rags, the monk 
in his cell, the gallant with his lute delicate 
miniatures often set in burnished gold, and adorned 
with open fret-work or borders of flowers and 

These borders in course of time from a purely 
fanciful ornamental character become real leaves, 
flowers or fruit, as in the Grimani Breviary, attri- 
buted to Memling, the famous Flemish painter, 
where the borders are in some pages naturalistic 
paintings of leaves and berries, birds and butter- 
flies, on gold grounds with cast shadows. Here 
we get the naturalistic feeling dominating again 
and the pictorial skill of the miniaturist triumphing, 
but the effect is still rich and ornamental. 

When the printing press in the middle of the 
fifteenth century began to rival the scribe with 
his manuscript, it offered in the woodcut a new 
method to the artist, which led to a new develop- 
ment of graphic power and design by means of 
line and black and white, though at first intended 





merely as a method of furnishing the illuminator 
with outlined designs as book illustrations and 
ornaments to be filled in with colour and gold. 




The black and white effect, however, grew to 
be liked for its own sake : not only was it found 
to afford a considerable range of decorative effect 



by different treatment- of line and solid black, 
but the graphic designer found in the rich vigorous 
woodcut line a suggestive and emphatic means of 
expression. The best artists of the time gave 
themselves to the work, and notably in Germany, 
the home of the invention of printing itself. 
Cologne, Mainz, Augsburg, Ulm, Nuremberg were 
all famous centres of activity in the printer's art, 
as well as Venice and Florence, Basle and Paris. 

Up to the end of the fifteenth century the 
Gothic and ornamental feeling is still dominant 
in the treatment of the design of woodcuts in 
books, and most instructive and suggestive they 
are in simplicity of method and line, and direct- 
ness of expression. 

Characteristic German work of Gothic feeling 
and considerable graphic force is seen in the 
woodcuts of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) 
designed by Michael Wolgemuth, the master of 
Albert Diirer. In these vigorous cuts we may 
plainly see the tradition of that Gothic feeling 
and style of graphic design afterwards developed 
in the work of the great German designer. 

The splendid woodcuts of Dufer's " Apoca- 
lypse," and of the " Little Passion," and the design 
called "The Cannon" (1518), give us further 
insight into his method of drawing and his graphic 
power; and one can hardly go to stronger or 
better examples for the study of expression by 
means of bold line work, a command of which is 
most valuable to designers in all materials, though, 
of course, especially so to those who desire to 
make black and white drawing their principal 
pursuit For Durer's finer line treatment on 




copper there is no better example than the 

portrait of Erasmus. 


" *. AB 'ALBERTO -nvRFRn.A 


A\ D X X V I 


The style of drawing shown in these woodcuts 
was no doubt to a great extent determined by the 



nature of the method of cutting the block. The 
drawing on the smooth plank not on the cross 
section of the tree, as in modern wood-engraving 
was actually cut with a knife, not a graver. Each 
line had to be excavated, as it were, from the 
surface, the ground or white part sunk each side, 
so as to make it take the ink and print the 
impression of its surface sharply upon the paper 
in the press. These conditions would necessarily 
lead to a certain economy of line both as to 
quantity and direction, and would favour the use 
of bold outline and lines expressive of relief 
surfaces or shadow arranged in a comparatively 
simple way, and often running into solid black, as 
in small folds of drapery and details. The drawing 
was probably done with a reed or quill pen, which 
latter still remains perhaps the best tool for 
emphatic, graphic drawing on the scale of book 
designs, since it offers the maximum possibility of 
effect with the minimum of simplicity and economy 
of means. Its only rival (though it may also be 
regarded as a useful auxiliary to the pen) is the 
narrow flexible brush point,, and this has the 
advantage of spreading more easily into solid 
blacks, though more likely to lead one into loose- 
ness of style owing to its very facility. 

Fine and firm graphic draughtsmanship and 
rich design, with a fine sense of the decorative 
value of armorial bearings and processional group- 
ing, may be seen in the famous series of woodcuts 
called u The Triumphs of Maximilian," in which 
Albert Durer and Hans Burgmair co-operated. 
That is to say each did a large proportion of the 
designs. It was a very vast work for wood- 





engraving. The scheme was in two parts, one 
consisting of a design of a triumphal arch, in 
general idea in emulation of the old Roman 
imperial triumphal arches. This part of the work 


consisted of ninety-two blocks which, when put 
together, form one woodcut loj feet high by 9 
feet wide. This part was all designed and drawn 
upon the blocks by Albert Durer, and engraved 
by Hieronymus Andreae. 



The second part consisted of the triumphal 
procession and the triumphal car of Maximilian 
and his Queens, designed by Dtirer, as well as 
other allegorical and heraldic cars and warlike 
machines, and cars with officers of the court, 
groups of knights in armour, men-at-arms of all 
kinds, country people, and even groups of African 
savages. Sixty-six of the designs of the procession 
are due to Hans Burgmair. 

It is noteworthy that the general scheme for 
this triumph was first painted on large sheets of 
parchment, which still exist in the Imperial Library 
at Vienna ; and the woodcuts followed this more 
or less in design, Dlirer's drawings being a freer 
rendering, while Burgmair's are supposed to keep 
more closely to the painted scheme of the minia- 
turists, though it is quite possible they may both 
have furnished sketches for the miniaturists' 
version also. This great undertaking, however, 
was never finished, and its progress came to an 
end with the death of the emperor in January, 
1519. The work was supposed to have been 
commenced in 1 5 1 2. 

For more purely ornamental effect in black 
and white the rich, bold, yet sensitive outline of 
the Venetian and Florentine woodcuts should be 
studied, and their use of solid black. 

The amount of graphic expression and even of 
statement of natural fact which can be put into 
pure outline alone is, of course, enormous. 

The value of the graphic illustrative capacity 
of the woodcut was soon discovered and utilized 
by the writers of natural histories and compilers 
of Herbals of the early days of printing onwards. 



There is a beautiful Herbal written by Dr. 
Fuschius (whose name we seern to have perpetu- 
ated in the Fuschia). It was printed at Basle in 
1542, and the drawings are fine examples of what 
outline can do, and remarkable for a combination 
of beautiful style united with natural truth and 
decorative feeling. One of the horned poppy is 
here given. The book is also interesting in the 
portraits of the draughtsmen and wood-engraver, 
w formschneider, given at the end. 

The woodcuts of the plants given in the Herbal 
of Matthiolus, where more lines of surface and 
shadow are introduced, are vigorous and good, 
full of style and character, and expressive of the 
salient facts of growth. The same may be said 
of those in our own Gerard's Herbal, though the 
impressions are not generally so bright or good ; 
but then it was produced during the decline of 
the printer's art, in the later years of the sixteenth 

Though used for purely illustrative purposes, 
much as the cuts put into modern dictionaries to 
make certain facts clear to the mind, these wood- 
cuts have always, over and above fidelity to the 
main facts of growth and character, a sense of 
design. They are not merely drawings of plants, 
but they are well put together as panels or spaces 
of design, and effectively though unobtrusively 
ornament the page. 

For expressive and sensitive line and touch in 
the rendering of flowers, the Japanese artists are 
remarkable, and their books, printed from wood- 
blocks cut on the plank in the old European way, 
are full of spirit and suggestiveness. Drawn on 



. IS42- 




289 u 


the wood with a pointed brush, which is occasion- 
ally spread to yield solid black, or turned sideways, 
or dragged, to vary the quality of the line, they 
show that extreme ease and facility in the 
expression of form by simple means which only 
long practice, direct work, and intimate knowledge 
and close observation of nature could produce. 
The added flat and delicate tints of colour enhance 
the effect and give them a decorative beauty 
entirely their own, though planned in -the spaces 
they occupy in a totally different spirit from the 
old Herbal woodcuts we have been considering. 
They belong in the main rather to the second 
point of view or artistic impulse in art, which I 
characterized at the beginning as the desire to 
represent without prepossession the appearances 
of things ; which delights in accidents, in unexpect- 
edness, and sometimes, it must be confessed, in 
downright ugliness and awkwardness, it seems to 
me w hat in short is sometimes called " impres- 
sionism," which has been largely influenced by 
Japanese art 

Mediaeval brasses are often very fine in the 
quality and use of outline, and show a wonderful 
amount of exact characterization in portraiture, 
as well as beauty of ornamental effect in the use of 
plain surfaces relieved' upon rich pattern work, and 
good disposition of draperies. Those of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, more especially 
the Belgian examples, are very useful to study 
for these things, as well as for the fine taste, the 
simplicity, and the broad artistic feeling shown 
under the strict limitation of the material, while 
they are remarkable for extraordinary delineation 






of character by very simple means the lines and 
sunk parts being incised in the smooth brass plate 
and filled in with black encaustic substance, while 
the colours of the heraldry are frequently enamelled. 
Note the beautiful lines of the drapery in the 
example given from Bruges, and the fine relief of 
the figures upon the rich diapered ground. In 
England the figures and borders were cut out in 
the brass and inserted' in the stone slab, which 
formed the background ; but the Flemish brasses 
show a different treatment, the figures ^ being 
relieved upon a rich diapered ground, also incised 
upon the brass, which takes the form of a complete 
panel or plate covering the stone slab. 

One may trace in the later brasses the efforts 
of the designer to gain more relief and graphic 
emphasis in his figures by introducing lines of 
shading and cross lines and greater complexity 
generally, as well as a tendency to escape the 
limits of the panel, no doubt under the influence 
of the rising power of pictorial art, which from the 
Renascence onwards seems to have dominated by 
its influence all the other arts. But in the case 
of brasses the beauty of design, the charm and 
simplicity of the earlier treatment, as well as the 
rich decorative effect, disappear with the attempt 
to render complexities of effect and qualities of 
drawing for which the material and purpose were 

The same change of feeling left its mark upon 
the sculptor's work in sepulchral monuments and 
effigies, which, in the Gothic period up to the end 
of the fifteenth century, are frequently refined and 
beautiful pieces of delicate portraiture, wrought 



2 93 


with extreme care and elaboration, with a strong 
yet restrained sense of the ornamental value of 
the detail ; but which, under the pictorial influence 
and the search Tor more obvious and superficial 
naturalism, became more or less forced in effect 
and vulgarized in sentiment as well as execution, 
and finally lost in classical artificiality and theatric 

In simple draughtsmanship and purely graphic 
design, too, it is noticeable that, with the intro- 
duction of the copper-plate and the attempt to 
get in book illustrations something like pictorial 
values and chiaroscuro, how, by degrees, vigour 
of design and feeling for good line work was lost. 

o <_> o 

The revival of the woodcut even under Bewick 
did little to help line design its former close 
companion. Bewick and his school developed 
the woodcut from the pictorial point of view, and 
with the object of demonstrating the capacity of 
the wood for rendering certain fine textures and 
tones as against steel and copper. Their great 
principle was the use of white line, not unheard 
of even in the early printing days, as a frontispiece 
to a German book (" Pomerium de Tempore," 
Augsburg, 1502) of the early sixteenth century 

Bewick's birds, which are remarkable for the 
delicate, truthful way in which the plumage is 
rendered, are as much the work of a naturalist 
as of an artist, and they show but little^design or 
feeling apart from this. 

Although William Blake and Edward Calvert 
made notable use of the woodcut, it was not 
really until about the middle of the century that 



any serious attempt was made in the direction of 
the revival of line and pen drawing for the sake 
of its expressive vigour, ornamental possibilities, 
and autographic value. Probably it really began 
with German artists like Schnorr (who did a 
series of Bible pictures more or less after the 
manner of Holbein), Alfred Rethel, and Moritz 
Schwind. Rethel's two large woodcuts, " Death 
the Friend " and " Death the Enemy/' are tolerably 
well known and show strong draughtsmanship 
and tragic force, recalling in their intensity and 
vigour the work of Diirer and the old German 

In England the revival of line design arose out 
of the Pre-Raphaelite movement (a movement 
certainly- influenced by the study of, early Italian 
as well as German and Flemish art), and was 
illustrated by the work of some of the leaders of 
that movement themselves. 

The drawings (engraved on wood by the brothers 
Dalziel) by D. G. Rossetti, Holman Hunt, and 
Millais, which illustrate the edition of Tennyson's 
poems published in 1857, show perhaps the first 
definite experiments in this direction. 

The pages of the journal "Once a Week," 
started in 1859, were the means of the introduction 
of new and powerful designers in line, such as 
Frederick Sandys, Charles Keene, E. J. Poynter, 
and Frederick Walker. 

The first three showed unmistakable evidence 
of a study of the manner of German Renascence 
woodcuts, but it was allied to the matter of modern 
thought and naturalism. With a freer graphic 
naturalism of a different order, Walker united a 



certain grace and sentiment derived from classic 
sculpture, curiously mixed with a Dutch-like 


domestic feeling. In his black and white drawing 
he shows, too, I think, to some degree the influ- 



ences of the photograph, which since those days 

has had so obvious an effect upon art and artists. 

" Once a Week," which introduced these with 
other artists to the public, was started by the 
proprietors of" Punch/' which had long maintained 
and still maintains an effective and legitimate field 
for graphic drawing in line rendered by the 
facsimile wood-block. The work of John Leech 
and Richard Doyle is well known, the former, 
with a light and somewhat loose touch registering 
the fashions and foibles of English life from week 
to week, with extraordinary spirit, humour, and 
character, often conveyed by very slight means. 

Sir John Tenniel, with his more serious and 
heavier style, continued until recently to give his 
familiar allegories of the political situation ; this 
style again has, I think, been influenced by German 

Then Charles Keene brought in a kind of 
impressionistic naturalism, expressed by a method 
of his own, having a look of great fr.eshness and 
directness, like crisp sketches from nature. 

Du Maurier developed a different style, less 
vigorous but more graceful in drawing, and with 
certain leanings at one time to the romantic Pre- 
Raphaelitism he used his pencil occasionally to 

In Mr. Linley Sambourne we see a designer 
and draughtsman of considerable power. His 
pen-line is vigorous and his drawing solid and 
graphic, with considerable feeling for style, but 
showing, I think, the influence of the photograph 
in the rendering of light and shade. 

In quality of line there is a certain kinship 



with the work of Mr. Phil May, a later addition 
to the staff, though his treatment is very different. 
He represents, indeed, rather the modern impres- 
sionist feeling in line drawing influenced by the 
Japanese ; his outlines are often extraordinarily 
graphic, and convey a great amount of character 
with very slight variation, and very little detail ; 
but there is rather a noticeable tendency towards 
awkward composition and ugly or repulsive types. 

As a work giving some of the more serious and 
carefully studied designs in line and black and 
white of modern artists, engraved on wood, might 
be mentioned the Bible projected by the brothers 
Dalziel, a portion only of which was completed, 
consisting of a series of fine drawings by Holman 
Hunt, Madox Brown, E. J. Poynter, Frederic 
Leighton, and others. They are more perhaps 
in the nature of isolated pictures than book illus- 
trations, but they are full of good and careful 

The earlier etchings of Mr. Whistler are full 
of delicate drawing of the picturesque detail of 
old waterside houses, as in the famous u Wapping," 
which even survived translation into a process 
block in the " Daily Chronicle/' 

We have now a vast public apparently interested 
in, and accustomed to, graphic representation in 
black and white, through the continual multiplica- 
tion of cheap illustrated newspapers, magazines, 
and books, and the continual invention and adapta- 
tion to the press of cheap photographic and 
automatic means of reproduction, which have 
almost entirely displaced the woodcut as a popular 
medium for the interpretation of graphic art 


In these cheap forms of pictorial art the 
photograph continues to gain ascendency not only 
as a medium for reproduction, but as a substitute 
for original artistic invention and design. Now 
while in the former province it is of enormous 
practical value, in the latter, I think, it bids fair 
to be extremely seductive and injurious to the 
growth of healthy artistic taste and capacity. 

Modern painting and draughtsmanship have 
for a long time shown the influence of the photo- 
graph (which for certain illusory qualities of 
lighting and relief cannot be approached), and so, 
no doubt, artists themselves have prepared the 
way for its popularity, and perhaps even usurpa- 
tion of the dominion of popular art. 

So far, however, as photographic effect is pre- 
ferred, and the mechanical tone-block is preferred 
to the pen-drawing and woodcut, it means the loss 
of character, of the personal element, of -distinctive 
artistic style. It means, in short, the substitution 
of scientific invention and mechanical method for 
artistic imagination, observation, and variety- 
surely this would be a most unfortunate exchange 



WE commonly speak of ancient art, but of 
modern artists. Straws indicate which 
way the wind blows, and superficial habits may in- 
dicate changes of thought and feeling which lie far 
deeper. Interest has now become centred in the 
development of individual varieties rather than 
typical forms, whereas, as we have seen, it is the 
latter character that distinguishes the art of the 
ancients. In the great monumental works of the 
Asiatic nations of antiquity names of individual 
artists are lost, and in the art of Egypt and 
Assyria and Persia they are of little consequence, 
since certain prevailing types and methods were 
adhered to ; and most of their work, as in their 
mural sculptures, while distinct in racial character, 
might almost have been executed by the same 
hand Egyptian, Assyrian, or Persian, as the 
case may be. Tennyson's lines regarding nature 
might be here applied to art ; 

" So careful of tfie type she seems, 
So careless of the single life." 

With the intellectual activity of Greece and the 
development of her power as a state, the archaic 
and purely typical period in her arts, while 


possessing wonderful harmony and unity, led to 
individual development of artists, and, assisted no 
doubt by the increase;* of writing and record; 
famous names are handed down :; such as Ictinus, 
the architect of the Parthenon, and Phidias, its 
sculptor, whose name characterizes the finest 
period of Greek art. 

The ancient myth of Daedalus seems to show 
that art was always a power among the ancient 
Greeks, and Daedalus, who seems to occupy an 
analogous position in southern mythology to that 
of Wayland Smith in the north, may have repre- 
sented, or his name and fame covered, whole 
generations of artists and cunning craftsmen ; 
following the tendency, still noticeable, by which 
great reputations absorb smaller ones, and in the 
course of time have attributed to them works not 
really belonging to them at all. The name 
becomes a convenient symbol for a whole period, 
school, or group of workmen. 

One can understand in primitive times how 
'important the artist-craftsmen must have been : 
the fashioner of weapons, the one learned in the 
mysteries of smelting metal, of working iron, 
bronze, brass and copper, gold and silver/and 
having the power of making things of beauty out 
of these, which became the revered or coveted 
treasures of temples and kings' houses. 

The old stories of the early Greek painters 
Apelles and Protogenes show, too, at once the 
tendency towards myth-making, and the old love 
of talk about art, as well as the old and dearly- 
clung- to popular theory that the beauty of painting 
is measured by its illusive power; so that .the 


realistic grapes of Apelles, which only deceived 
the birds, were supposed to be outdone by the 
naturalistic curtain of Protogenes, which took in 
the critics. This tradition seems still to linger in 
the minds of our scene-painters when^they present 
us with those wonderful (and sometimes fearful) 
drop curtains of satin, festooned with tassels and 
cords of undreamed-of sumptuousness and mysteri- 
ous mechanism. 

The names and works of Praxiteles and of 
Myron are well known to students of antique 
sculpture, and these are but stars^ of greater 
magnitudeamongahostof others less distinguished, 
or less centralized in universal fame. Yet we 
only know the Venus of Melos from the island 
where she was discovered. 

We know that the Greek vase painters fre- 
quently signed their designs, and this has consider- 
ably helped the historic criticism and classification 
of that interesting and beautiful province of Greek 
design, such as has been so ably done in the 
works of Miss Jane E. Harrison. 

In the Byzantine and early mediaeval period 
we again see a great development of typical 
symbolical and profoundly impressive art in archi- 
tecture and decoration, but again names and 
individual artists are largely lost. We do not 
know, for instance, who were the designers of the 
splendid mosaics at Ravenna, 

With the dawn of painting ia Italy, however, 
in the thirteenth century arose a personal and 
individualized type of art in which names became 
of immense interest This was no doubt fostered 
by the rivalry of the cities, each independent, 


under its own government; each municipality 
proud and anxious to vie in the splendour and 
beauty of art with its neighbouring, municipality. 
This led to a wholesome emulation among artists 
and very fine results, since there were abundant 
opportunities in the great public monuments, 
council chambers, and churches for the highest 
exercise of the architect, the painter, and crafts- 
man's art. 

The ancient system of the master craftsman 
working with his pupils in his shop or studio 
prevailed. A man might learn the craft of paint- 
ing from the beginning, the grinding of colours, 
the laying of grounds, the mixing of tints, drawing 
out cartoons, enlarging designs for wall-painting, 
the painting of ornamental framework, and decora- 
tive detail, and gesso work enrichment, and gilding, 
miniature painting and the decoration of books, 
altar-pieces, signs and shrines; perhaps embroidery 
and textile patterns, banners, the furniture of 
shows and pageants all these might be carried 
on, perhaps under one master. The term painter 
was not then specialized to mean either house- 
painter or easel-picture painter. An apprentice 
might thoroughly and practically learn his trade 
in the ordinary sense of the word, but it would 
depend upon his personal capacity and quality 
whether he would become a master, whether his 
name would be inscribed on the scroll of fame to 
be a landmark for future historians of art. 

The romantic tales and episodes in the lives 
of painters which have come down to us are 
always interesting, and in Italy, being the centre of 
artistic life from the fourteenth to the end of the 


sixteenth centuries, we find abundant lore of this 


Ttn&t picturesque legend of Cimabue of Flor- 
ence, first told by Lorenzo Ghiberti (who was 
born in 1378), for Instance, finding the youthful 
Giotto as a shepherd boy, while riding in the 
valley. of Vespignano, about fourteen miles from 
Florence, sketching the image of one of his flock 
upon a smooth fragment of slate with a pointed 
stone, and taking him to Florence as his pupil. 

Cimabue. is commonly supposed to have been 
the first to show a new departure in the direction 
of greater freedom and naturalness of treatment, 
the first whose work shows much individuality, 
and emerges from the somewhat set and prescribed 
traditions of the Byzantine school which character- 
izes the earliest Italian painting of the Christian 
period really influenced by the Greek church 
mosaic design, which may be considered almost 
as the swathing clothes of mediaeval painting in 

His altar-piece for the church of Sta. Maria 
Novella was carried in procession through Florence 
to the church a subject which has furnished a 
theme for Lord Leighton's well-known and fine 
decorative early work, too seldom seen. 

Cimabue's portrait in the white embroidered 
costume with a hood, appears in a group with 
Giotto and other famous contemporaries, includ- 
ing Petrarch and Laura, in a fresco by Simone 
Memmi, a contemporary painter, on the wall of 
the chapel of the Cappella degli Spagnoli at Sta, 
Maria Novella. 

But Giotto marks the real point of departure., 

Coming straight from outdoor life, from the simple 
country pursuits of a shepherd boy, it was signifi- 
cant that he should be the first to introduce a new 
spirit into art. Natural simplicity and directness, 
power of dramatic narrative painting, dignity and 
simplicity of style, and decorative beauty these 
were some of the qualities? with which Giotto 
enriched the field of early Italian art. 

He became the friend of Dante, who pays him 
a tribute in . the well-known lines in his poem 
" II Purgatorio^ 1 

Cimabue thought 

To lord it over painting's field ; and now 
The cry is Giotto, and his name's eclips'd." 

GARY'S Dante. 

And Giotto has left us an interesting portrait of 
the poet, on the wall of the Podesta, or council 
chamber of Florence, his first recorded work. 
Giotto was, in fact, a fellow pupil with Dante 
under the same master, Brunetto Latini, since 
Cimabue gave him all the cultivation of his time 
in books as well as art. The fame of Giotto as 
a painter spread all over Italy, and his services 
were required by the Church, and by rich and 
great persons. 

There is a well-known story, which throws light 
upon his skill and certainty of hand, that once; 
when an emissary from Pope Boniface VIII. 
came to him for a specimen of his handiwork to 
show to his master, Giotto took a piece of paper 
and drew a circle in one stroke, without com- 

The pope's emissary was disappointed at not 
getting a prettier picture, but it proved convincing", 


AUnari Photo.} 


and the legend passed into a proverb which runs ; 
Rounder than the O of Giotto " Piii tondo che 
I 1 O di Giotto. 1 ' 

The frescoes of the Arena Chapel at Padua, 
representing the history of Christ and the Virgin 
in fifty square compartments, remain among 
Giotto's most famous works. The frescoes of 
the vaulted roof of the lower church at Assisi are 
also very fine. 

" Here," says Mrs. Jameson, in <l Early Italian 
Painters," " over the tornb of S. Francis, the 
painter represented the three vows of the order 
Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience : and in the 
fourth compartment, the saint enthroned and 
glorified amidst the host of Heaven. 

"The invention of the allegories under which 
Giotto has represented the vows of the saint 
his marriage with Poverty Chastity seated in 
her rocky fortress and Obedience with the curb 
and yoke is ascribed by tradition to Dante." 

He was architect and sculptor as well as painter, 
and the design of the beautiful Campanile of the 
Duonio at Florence is due to him. 

Cimabueand Giotto's contemporary, the sculptor 
Niccolo Pisano, was another distinguished artist 
of the early Italian revival. He is said to have 
been inspired by the study of antique sculpture. 
A certain sarcophagus (Phaedra and Hippolytus) 
by its life and movement is supposed to have 
suggested the character which he sought in his 
work. The dramatic vitality which he infused 
into bis figures was certainly extraordinary, as his 
famous pulpit at Pisa demonstrates. There was 
some danger of losing monumental dignity and 



A linari Photo, ,] 


repose, but it meant a return to nature and life 
after a long period of restraint and convention 
which had become dead. 


The revival, therefore, was both salutary and 
necessary, though it is not unnatural that painters 
should have profited most by its effects, and that 
painting should have become the leading and 
popular art, because most immediate and familiar 
in its appeal and the width of its sympathy and 


For vivid dramatic intensity of conception and 

earnestness of purpose the work of Orcagna stands 
out among the early painters of Florence. Andrea 
Orcagna was the son of a goldsmith of Florence. 
.The goldsmiths of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries were in general excellent designers, and 
not unfrequently became painters, as in the 
instances of Francia, Ghirlandajo, Verrocchio, 
Andrea del Sarto. It was in his father's workshop 
that Andrea Orcagna first learned his art. He 
was born before 1310, and he painted at the 
Campo Santo in 1332. His famous work was 
the fresco still to be seen on the wall of the 
Campo Santo at Pisa " The Triumph of Death." 
It presents us with certain contrasts of life and 
death, of pleasure and pain, of pomp and pride 
and poverty, the severe life of the holy man, the 
gay life of the pleasure seeker. There is a striking 
group of huntsmen reining in their horses at the 
sight of certain grim coffins containing great and 
pompous personages in various stages of decay. 
Grotesque fiends, too, are seen hustling wicked 
ones into a fiery pit. Thus does the early painter 
enforce the old moral. Thus does he paint the 
sharp contrasts of life and death, the short life 
and the merry one ; the careless worldling and 
the rich and powerful finally levelled by death; 




while the higher spiritual life and the virtues of 
self-denial and sacrifice are suggested by the pious 
and primitive life of the monks. 




Such subjects were favourites all through the 
Middle Ages, and it may be remembered that 
Petrarch about this time wrote his " Triumphs,'' 



one of which is named " The Triumph of 


A gentler spirit is seen in the art of Benozzo 
Gozzoli (born circa 1424), a pupil of Fra Angelico, 
full of a love for nature, of trees and flowers and 
animals, and of decorative beauty, a delight in 
beautiful walled cities, in ornate dresses, in fair 
fresh faces of youths and maidens. It is the joy 
of life without the shadow of death, as of the 
visions of a serene spirit that joins the hands of 
the old pagan life and the new Christian ideals 
and reconciles them in a world of beauty. 

In the frescoes of the Riccardi Chapel at 
Florence, Benozzo pictures, with loving faithful- 
ness, the Medici princes riding out to the hunt in 
splendid equipment, in a high upland and wooded 
country such as one may find around Florence. 
The subject was " The Adoration of the Magi," 
represented upon the side walls, "The Nativity" 
being painted over the altar. The procession of 
the kings with gifts is seen winding over the hills 
Of the rich and varied landscape, interspersed with 
groups like the princes, in Which Lorenzo the 
Magnificent appears, and portraits of the painter, 
his friends, and contemporaries. 

The fresh youthful faces are full of the zest 
and pleasure of life. The horses curvet and 
prance in their proud trappings, and the hounds 
pursue the flying deer, as if for pleasant pas- 

He gives us those charming groups of kneeling 
angels also in the same chapel. Or he tells the 
s-tory of the building of the tower of Babel, or of 
Noah, at Pisa, or of St. Augustine, at San Gimig- 


Brogi Photo.] 


nano, with the same serenity and delight in 
subsidiary incident and ornament. 

Another Vfery distinct individuality in painting, 

reflecting the spirit of his time halfway between 
mediaeval feeling and the revived paganism and 
humanism of the classical Renascence, was Botti- 
celli. He was a pupil of the painter-monk Fra 
Filippo Lippi, and worked at Florence about the 
middle of the fifteenth century. He was one of 
the painters summoned to Rome in 1471 by Pope 
Sixtus IV. to paint the walls of the Sistine Chapel. 
He is spoken of as " our friend Botticelli " in 
Leonardo da Vinci's treatise on painting ; but 
until comparatively recently, as compared with 
more often sounded names in the trumpet of fame, 
the beauty of his work has been singularly 

That now generally admired and most poetic 
and beautiful work, "An Allegory of Spring," in 
the Accademia at Florence, was, about five and 
twenty years ago, hung in an obscure position ; 
but of late, and probably largel/owing to English 
taste and criticism, it is now brought prominently 
forward and is constantly copied. The lady who 
is supposed to witness the masque stands in the 
centre in a grove of orange trees, the ground 
covered with flowers, among which is seen the 
fteur-de-hice of Florence ; Zephyrus is clasping 
the earth, and from her mouth fall flowers; next 
to her Flora, or Spring, with a beautiful robe 
embroidered with flowers, bears. roses in her lap 
and scatters them. Then there is a group of the 
"Three Graces" dancing, while Hermes, as the 
herald of Spring, leads the procession. The 
picture is supposed to have formed one of a set 
of four. The second panel called " Summer," 
and showing Venus rising in her shell from the 

3 2 4 

sea, with a draped figure about to throw a robe 
over her as she reaches the grassy shore, is in 
the Uffizi Gallery. There is also a remarkable 
allegory, "Calumny," in the same gallery, while 
our own National Gallery contains a characteristic 
Madonna and Child with angels. Botticelli's 
Madonnas are always distinguished by a peculiar 
expression of wistful pathos and a feeling unlike 
those of any other painter. There is also a 
charming small Nativity with a ring of angels, 
besides the very splendid vision of heaven. 
Botticelli also made illustrations to Dante. 

A severer and more distinctly classically inspired 
genius, yet with a certain northern hardness, we 
find in Mantegna, who was born near Padua, in 
1431. He came, it is said, of very poor and 
obscure parents, and, like his great predecessor 
Giotto, Mantegna was employed in keeping sheep. 
Little is known of his early life, but he is found 
later as one of the pupils of Francesco Squarcione, 
a painter of Padua, but more famous for his 
teaching, his school being at that time the most 
renowned in all Italy, his pupils numbering one 
hundred and thirty-seven. He was a great student 
of the antique, and travelled over Ital;, and Greece 
in search of remains of ancient art, obtaining casts 
or copies of such sculptures he could not purchase 
or remove, so that Mantegna had no doubt 
exceptional facilities for the study of classical 
sculpture, which had so marked an influence upor 
his design. 

He seems, too, to have been an indefatigable 
worker, and drew with great diligence from the 
statues, busts, bas-reliefs, and architectural orna- 


rnents he found in the school of Squarcione. "At 
the age of seventeen Andrea painted his first 

C. Naya Ph 


great picture for the church of Santa Sofia in 
Padua (now lost), and at the age of nineteen 


assisted in painting the chapel of St, Christopher 
in the Eremitani representing on the vault the 
four evangelists/' He is said to have given to 
these sacred personages the air and attitude of 
Greek or Roman philosophers, the type in fact 
confirmed by Raphael and afterwards generally 
adopted by Renascence artists. 

A curious change or blending of other elements 
and a different feeling in Mantegna's work, soften- 
ing the somewhat cold and rigid classicism, seems 
to have been brought about by his association 
with the Venetian painter Jacopo Bellini, the 
father of the two greater Bellinis (Giovanni and 
Gentile), whose daughter Nicolosia he married 
about this time (1450). This marriage with the 
daughter of Squarcione's rival, as Bellini was 
considered, and Mantegna's friendship with him, 
seems to have offended Squarcione and caused 
an estrangement, and even the active enmity of 
his first master, and eventually led to his quitting 
Padua. He painted some frescoes at Verona, and 
was invited to Mantua by Ludovico Gonzaga, 
and finally he entered the service of that prince. 
He was invited to Rome by Pope Innocent VIII. 
to paint a chapel in the Belvedere of the Vatican, 
which was actually destroyed in the last century 
by Pius VI. to make room -for his new museum. 
This was after the ruthless way of the popes, 
prodigal of painted walls, as when the beautiful 
early Renascence frescoes of Melozzo da Forli 
were removed to make room for Raphael's and 
Giulio Romano's frescoes in the Stanzi. 

There is a story of the discretion of Mantegna, 
which, with a natural courtesy, seems to have 


distinguished him personally. While working for 
Pope Innocent VIII. it happened that the pay- 
ments for the work were not made with desirable 
regularity ; the pope, visiting the artist at his 
work one day, asked him the meaning of a certain 
female figure which he had introduced. Andrea 
replied that he was trying to represent Ingratitude. 
The pope, understanding him at once, replied : 
u If you would place Ingratitude in fitting company, 
you should place Patience at her side/ 1 Andrea 
took the hint and said no more. It is satisfactory 
to know that in the end the pope not only paid 
up, but was "munificent" besides. 

Finally, Mantegna returned to Mantua, where 
he built himself a magnificent house painted inside 
and out by his own hand, and in which he lived in 
great esteem and honour until his death in 1506. 
He was buried in the church of his patron St. 
Andrew, where his monument in bronze and 
several of his pictures are still to be seen. 

The famous frieze of " The Triumph of Julius 
Csesar" which is now in Hampton Court Palace, 
having been bought by King Charles I. from the 
Duke of Mantua was first designed by Mantegna 
for the hall of the palace of San Sebastiano at 
Mantua, and commenced in 1488, before he went 
to Rome, he finishing it after his return in 1492. 
There are nine panels or compartments in this 
frieze : " They are painted in distemper on twilled 
linen, which has been stretched on frames, and 
originally placed against the wall with arabesque 
pilasters dividing the compartments." 

Mr. Alfred Marks issued a set of photographs 
some years ago, but they are not very clear. 


There is a good set of Italian woodcuts in 
chiaroscuro of the designs, by Andrea Andreani, 
done while the frieze was in the palace at Mantua, 
which have been engraved in various ways at 
different times with very various results. 

The whole design is extremely rich and 
sumptuous, and full of the extraordinary designing 
power and command of inventive detail so charac- 
teristic of Mantegna. 

"In the first compartment we have the open- 
ing of the procession : trumpets, incense burn- 
ing, standards borne aloft by the victorious 

" In the second, the statues of the gods carried 
off from the temples of the enemy ; battering rams, 
implements of war, heaps of glittering armour 
carried on men's shoulders, or borne aloft in 

" In the third compartment, more- splendid 
trophies of a similar kind ; huge vases filled with 
gold coin, tripods, etc. 

" In the fourth, more such trophies, with the 
oxen crowned with garlands for the sacrifice. 

"In -the' fifth are four elephants adorned with 
rich garlands of fruits and flowers, bearing on 
their backs magnificent candelabra, and attended 
by beautiful youths. 

"In the sixth are figures bearing vases, and 
others displaying the arms of the vanquished. 

"The seventh shows us the unhappy captives, 
who, according to the barbarous Roman custom, 
were exhibited on these occasions to the scoffing 
and exulting populace. There is here a group of 
female captives of all ages, among them a dejected 


bride-like figure, a woman carrying her infant 
children, and a mother her little boy, who lifts up 
his foot as if he had hurt it. 

" In the eighth we have a group of singers and 


" In the ninth, and last, appears the Conqueror. 
Julius Caesar, in a sumptuous chariot richly adorned 
with sculptures ; he is surrounded by a crowd of 
figures, and among them is seen a youth bearing 
aloft a standard on which is inscribed the boastful 


words : ' Veni, vidi, vici ' ' I came, I saw, I 

conquered/" l 

The care and science of. 'the draughtsmanship 
is as noticeable as the richness of the design, 
The perspective being carefully given as of figures 
actually seen above the eye-line, and with all the 
sumptuousness and the mixed elements of the 
design there is a certain restraint and monumental 
severity which preserves its dignity. 

Rubens, when at Mantua in 1606, was struck 
by the splendour of the work, and gave a Rubens- 
esque rendering of one of the compartments, which 
is in the National Gallery ; but it loses the peculiar 
dignity, serenity, and decorative character of 
Mantegna's work in the somewhat florid and 
bumptious style of the late Flemish master ; but 
there is no doubt that Rubens entertained a real 
admiration for the work, and was instrumental in 
getting Charles L to purchase it. 

Among Mantegna's chief works may be named 
" La Madonna della Vittoria,"' now in the Louvre, 
painted as an altar-piece for the church built by 
the Marquis of Mantua, to commemorate -his 
victory on the retreat of Charles VI I L from Italy ; 
the Crucifixion, also in the Louvre, containing the 
artist's own portrait in the half-length figure of the 
soldier seen in front; the fine allegory of the Vices 
flying before Wisdom, Chastity, and Philosophy; 
and the beautiful Parnassus, which were painted 
for Isabella d'Este, and filled panels in a room in 
her palace at Mantua, as has recently been dis- 
covered. Mr. Armstrong has had a fine large 

1 " Early Italian Painters." MRS. JAMESON. 

scale model of one side of this room set up in the 
South Kensington Museum, to show the effect of 
the decorations complete of Mantegna's allegories 
(represented by copies). One must not forget 
either the wonderful Circumcision, at Florence, 
or, in our own National Gallery, the Virgin and 
Child enthroned. 

Besides his paintings there exists a multitude 
of drawings, designs, and plates of his own engraving 
(an art which he took up when he was sixty years 
old). These include the fifth, sixth, and seventh 
compartments of his own " Triumph of Julius 

Perhaps the greatest individual mind of the 
Italian Renascence was Leonardo da Vinci, who 
was so distinguished in so many different depart- 
ments of thought and art ; and while he summed 
up and passed beyond the philosophical and 
scientific knowledge of his age, and experimented 
in nearly all directions, and was at once architect, 
chemist, engineer, musician, poet, his fame still 
rests upon his achievements in painting, which 
are distinguished by a peculiar refinement, extreme 
finish, and intellectual and poetic quality. He 
was born at Vinci, from which he takes his name, 
near Florence that Athens of the Middle Ages 
in the lower Val d'Arno, on the borders of the 
territory of Pistoia. His father was an advocate, 
not rich, but able to give his son the advantage 
of the best instructors in the science and art of 
that period. He studied under Andrea Verrocchio 
(famous for his superb bronze equestrian statue 
of the Coleoni at Venice), himself uniting the arts 
of sculptor, chaser in metal, and painter. There 


is a story that Leonardo as a youth was set to 
paint an angel in a picture of Verrocchio, and so 
outdid his master that the latter never touched 
painting again. 

A weird fantastic vein which appears in Leon- 
ardo's work, especially in his love for inventing 
grotesques, comes out in the tale of the fig tree. A 
peasant on his father's estate cut down an old fig 
tree and brought a section of the trunk to have 
something painted upon it for his cottage. Leon- 
ardo determined to do something terrible and 
striking a beautiful horror which should rival the 
mythical Medusa's head (which he afterwards- 
painted), and, aided by his natural history studies 
and the reptiles he collected, he produced a sort 
of monster or chimera which frightened his father 
into fits and was therefore considered too good 
for the peasant's cottage, and afterwards sold for 
much. The peasant was persuaded to give up 
his fig tree and put off with a wooden shield 
painted with a device of a hart transfixed with an 

In a letter to the Duke of Milan, who had 
invited him to. his court, he thus recites his 
qualifications as an artist : " I understand the 
different modes of sculpture in marble, bronze, 
and terra-cotta. In painting, also, I may esteem 
myself equal to anyone, let him be who he may/ 1 

Of his paintings the widest-known, through 
engravings, is "The Last Supper/' which was 
painted on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican 
Convent of the Madonna delle Grazie at Milan, 
occupying two years, from 1496 to 1498 but the 
fresco has suffered by time and restoration, and 



but little of it is now left. There is a fine study 

of the head of Christ. 

The picture of the Virgin of the Rocks and the 
a/rtrait, Madonna Lisa del Gioconde, in the 
iLouvre, show the quality of his painting the 
characteristic subtlety of expression, mysterious- 
ness, and very elaborate finish. 

After his return to Florence began his rivalry 
with another gigantic artistic personality of that 
time of wonders Michael Angelo, who was then, 
in the early years of the sixteenth century, about 
twenty-two years younger. The strong but jealous 
individuality of both, in spite of admiration for 
each other's genius, unfortunately stood in the 
way of friendship and co-operation. They remained 
rivals and competitors. They contended for the 
painting of the great Council Hall in the Palazzo 
Vecchio at Florence, and both prepared cartoons. 
Leonardo chose for his subject the defeat of the 
Milanese by the Florentine army in 1440 ; Michael 
Angelo a party of Florentine soldiers surprised 
while bathing in the Arno. Leonardo's design 
was chosen, but he spent so much time in experi- 
menting and in preparing the wall to receive 
oil-painting, which he preferred to fresco, that, 
changes of government happening, the scheme 
was finally abandoned, and both cartoons, though 
shown for several years, were finally lost, only a 
copy of Michael Angelo* s remaining, and an 
engraving from it. 

The experimental nature of Leonardo seems to 
have prevented his completing many works, while 
he was full of projects of all kinds, too many of 
which were never realized. The fine cartoon of 



A linari Photo. ] 

the Virgin and St. Anna was never painted. 
This cartoon is now in the possession of the Royal 

337 z 


In 1514 Leonardo was, like so many great 
Italian artists, invited to Rome by the pope 
(then Leo X.), but more in his character of 
philosopher, mechanic, and alchemist than as a 
painter. There he met -Raphael, then at the 
height of his fame, engaged in painting the Stanzi 
of the Vatican. But Leonardo was ill-pleased on 
the whole with his Roman visit. The pope was 
said to have become dissatisfied with his speculative 
and dilatory habits. His old rival, Michael Angelo, 
was there, and finally he left and set out for 
Pavia, where Francis I. of France then held his 
Court. By him Leonardo was received with 
honour and favour, and went with him to France 
as principal Court painter, only, however, as it 
proved, to die there on May 2nd, 1516. 

In the work of Leonardo's great rival, Michael 
Angelo, the art of the Italian Renascence may be 
said to have reached its culminating point, and 
after him decline sets in. It is as if the wonderful 
structure of inventive artistic genius had been 
piled by the life labours of generations to an 
ambitious and dangerous height, and at last had 
given way under the strain, or perhaps, like the 
sun-flower, the same force which raises the 
splendid rayed head and enables it to outface the 
sun, at last forces it earthwards again. 

Michael Angelo Buonarotti was born at Settig- 
nano, near Florence, in the year 1474. His 
ambition, personal pride, and masterfulness of 
temper possibly may be traced to his progenitors 
a once noble family. It was, too, against the 
prejudice of his father that he finally decided 
his career, becoming the apprentice of Ghirlandajo. 


A linari Photo. ] 

It was in the days when Lorenzo the Magnificent 
ruled over Florence, and the young Michael 
Angelo became a student in the Academy, founded 



upon the strength of a collection of antique 

marbles, busts, statues, fragments in the palace 

and gardens of that prince. This alone would be 

sufficient to give a strong classical bias to his 


There is a story of Michael Angelo's first 
attempt in marble when he was about fifteen a 
copy of an antique mask of an old laughing faun : 
he treated this with a spirit and vivacity of his 
own, and Lorenzo de Medici was struck by its 
cleverness; but he said, "Thou shouldst have 
remembered that old folks do not retain all their 
teeth : some of them are always wanting." The 
young sculptor at once struck one or two out, 
giving the mask a more grotesque expression. 

On this evidence of cleverness Lorenzo took 
entire charge of Michael Angelo. With the marks 
of princely favour, however, he was destined to 
carry another mark, not so agreeable, ever after, 
owing to, as some say, the jealousy of Torregiano, 
a fellow pupil, who in a quarrel struck him, some 
accounts say with his fist, some with a mallet, and 
so gave him the broken nose which is characteristic 
of the portraits of Michael Angelo. Torregiano 
In consequence suffered banishment from Florence. 
In his own account of the affray to Benvenuto 
Cellini he declares the provocation came from 
Michael Angelo. The favour and protection of 
Lorenzo did not last long, as in his eighteenth 
year Michael Angelo lost his patron by death. 

It was Lorenzo's son Piero who set him one 
wintry day to make a statue out of the snow 
rather a wasteful proceeding for a Michael Angelo, 
though, as the late Mr. Walter Pater has said, 


there is a certain- reminiscence of the feeling of 
the snow statue in the suggestive and half-finished 
figures of the tombs. of the Medici. 

With the fall of the Medici family and their 
exile from Florence, Michael Angelo, as one of 
their retainers, had to fly also, and took refuge in 
Bologna, where he pursued his work as a sculptor. 
At the age of twenty-two he produced the " Pieta " 
in marble, now in St. Peter's at Rome. 

In 1502 he was again recalled to Florence. 
In 1504 took place the competition with Leonardo 
of the cartoons for the Palazzo Vecchio, already 
spoken of. 

In 1506 Michael Angelo was called to Rome 
by Pope Julius II. The pope employed him to 
design the sumptuous sculptural monument destined 
for his own tomb, for which the famous colossal 
Moses was executed, and the slaves or prisoners, 
but these, like the tomb, never were finished. 

But his great work in Rome, the great work of 
his life, was the decoration of the ceiling of the 
Sistine Chapel, the walls of which had been painted 
by earlier artists of the Florentine school : Signorelli, 
Cosimo Roselli, Perugino, Ghirlandajo, Botticelli. 
The ceiling i^mained unadorned, and now Michael 
Angelo was called upon to design his great sacred 
epic of painting, having to deal with a space 1 50 
feet In length by 50 feet in breadth, upon the 
concave surface of a round vault, without any 
architectural or structural enrichment qr division 
save the windows. The theme was the fall and 
redemption of mankind according to the Bible 

At first it appears that Michael Angelo, as it is 


said, doubtful of his own skill in fresco, called in 
the aid of painters from Florence to^aid him in 
carrying out his design, but was so disappointed 
with their work that he effaced it and dismissed 
them. He then shut himself up and proceeded to 
devote himself to the gigantic work alone, preparing 
the colours with his own hands, showing how 
thorough an individualist he must have been, 
contrary to the practice of his own time, which 
was to work with pupils and assistants, He began 
with the end towards the door, and in two 
compartments first painted " The Deluge " and 
" The Vineyard of Noah "; the figures are on a 
smaller scale, "which he afterwards abandoned for 
a larger, bolder treatment. He spent twenty-two 
months in painting the ceiling, exclusive of the 
time spent in preparing the cartoons. The work 
was uncovered to the public view on All Saints' 
Day, 1512. 

The sculpturesque and architectural feeling 
which, really stronger in Michael Angelo's work 
than that of the painter, is very decidedly mani- 
fested both in the general plan of the design and 
in individual figures and details. In order to bring 
so great a scheme into comprehensive form it was 
necessary to divide and subdivide the blank ceiling 
with painted architectural mouldings and ribs into 
spaces and panels. The titanic youthful figures 
placed between, upon the ledges and brackets of 
the framework of the subjects, are very fine and 
characteristic in style, and essentially sculptors' 
designs ; each would work out as a separate 
statue, though for all that each single figure, as 
each figure of every group, bears a certain relation 


to the rest and fills a harmonious and necessary 
place in the scheme. The colour is subdued and 

A linari Photo. ] 

quiet. It has a gray, cool effect in the chapel, 
gray blues, pale greens and whites being much 



Alinari fhoto,} 


used in the draperies, and the chief decorative 
effect being gained by the opposition of brown 
flesh tones to the broad, light marble-like frame- 
work, or the landscape and sky backgrounds of 



AUnari Pkoto.l 


the subject panels. This great work was completed 
by Michael Angelo in his thirty-ninth year. 

Another great monumental work in which his 


architectural and sculptural genius come out are 
the tombs of the Medici in the Church of San 
Lorenzo. The seated figures of Lorenzo and 
Giuliano de Medici are placed in the recesses of 
a Renascence arcade, in front of which are marble 
sarcophagi, and upon the lids recline figures of 
Night and Morning, and of Dawn and Twilight 
respectively. They are very bold and powerful 
in design, and extremely characteristic in style 
and treatment, having a certain titanic energy 
and tragic unrest, as well as pensive mystery, about 
them, which belong to the strong personality of 
their designer. 

Poet, as well as painter, architect, and sculptor, 
we see him moving amid the political troubles 
and vicissitudes of his time, a proud and stormy 
spirit, a man of extraordinary energy, which 
impresses itself upon all his works. The designer 
of St. Peter's, the painter of the Sistine, and anon 
as engineer called to fortify Florence ; austere and 
abstemious of habit, proud and imperious, and yet 
tenderly solicitous for his aged father, and devoted 
to his old servant Urbino, whom he tenderly nursed 
in his last illness. 

The great artist lived till eighty-nine, and died 
in Rome, the scene of his monumental labours, on 
February i8th, 1564, 

As showing the alertness and activity of his 
mind in old age, he is said to have made a drawing 
of himself as an aged man in a go-cart, with the 
motto, Ancora impara (still learning), a true 
emblem for a great man who, in spite of his 
knowledge, feels that in view of the unknown he 
knows nothing. 


These are a few, a very few, individualities out 
of the drama of Italian art, briefly sketched, but 
distinct as they are, they are not detached like 
isolated statues upon pedestals from the character- 
istics of their age. They are great because they 
embody those characteristics; they are like rich 
jewels strung upon a golden chain the golden 
chain of inventive tradition which unites them 
which, while leaving each artist free in his own 
sphere, brings his work into relation and harmony 
with that of his contemporaries, his predecessors, 
and his successors. Some may prefer to take the 
jewels separately and admire them without reference 
to the chain ; but, I think, to fully understand 
and appreciate the genius of individual artists one 
must never leave out of account their relation to 
their time, and its influences, the relation of their 
particular art to the state of the arts generally ; for 
among these are the factors which have contributed 
to make them what we find them in their works ; 
just as the colour and relief of a figure or a head 
depends largely upon its background. 



IN my last chapter I compared tradition in art 
to a golden chain, and the striking individu- 
alities which arise from time to time as the jewels 
upon such a chain. The history of art and the 
evolution of design may be regarded either from 
the point of view of the jewels or from the point of 
view of the ordinary links ; and if we wish to take 
a just and comprehensive view I think we must 
not only consider the luminous points, but the 
system the links by which they are connected 
and related. Looking out into the clear night we 
see a vast mass of brilliant stars of all degrees of 
magnitude apparently flung into space without 
order or relation, but the studies of astronomers 
have revealed that they are the central suns of 
systems around which revolve planets invisible to 
us ; but these star-suns themselves become lost, 
and merged in the countless myriads that form 
the silvery cloud we call the milky way. So it is 
in the history of art and the evolution of design. 
At first we are attracted by the brilliant personalities, 
surrounded by satellites, that seem to sum up in 
their work whole epochs, and remain typical and 
central points in the wide spaces of time ; but 
further research reveals their relation to other 


personalities not so distinct, on whom the full light 
of popular favour has not flashed, and presently 
we get beyond personalities altogether, and in. the 
work of remote antiquity see only the results of 
the labours of generations, purely typical forms of 
art, the monumental record of races, of nations 
of dynasties, the work, not of individual men, but 
of collective man. 

Of such we may find examples in the art of 
ancient Egypt^ of Assyria, of Persia, and in the 
archaic and primitive art of all kinds, from the 
fragments of pottery from the plain of Troy to the 
carved paddles of the Polynesian islanders. 

The art and craft of building architecture, the 
fundamental art, can only be traced back to its 
primitive forms in different countries as practised 
among different races and peoples. The origin of 
its distinctive styles, and its principal constructive 
features, were determined long ago under the 
influence of climate and local materials, by the 
collective thought and co-operative labour of man- 
kind schooled by necessity and experience. 

Yes, it is a history of constant adaptation to/ 
conditions and united labour and invention from 
our primitive ancestor, who improved upon the 
natural shelter of the tree by interlacing its pendent 
branches with other branches and stakes fixed in 
the ground; who burned theends of their timbers, 
so that as piles they could be driven more easily 
into the mud to support the platforms of the 
wattled lake dwellings, when there were no steel 
axes. From the early colonists of our race, the 
Aryan wagoners, who perhaps took the idea of 
the primitive gable and roof timbers from the tilt 

of the wagon, or the supports of the tent-coverings ; 
from the ingenuity of the Mongolian settlers by 
the riverside, making the framing of their houses 
and supporting their roofs by the bamboo, utiliz- 
ing the hollow canes for the jointing and bracket- 
ing of the supports, and terminating the ends 
ornamentally by inserting grotesquely carved 
heads. The chain of invention is unbroken up 
to modern scientific engineering and calculated 
principles of building construction, which but sums 
up and systematizes the collective experience of 


We see, too, the collective hand of tradition 
and the adherence to accustomed forms in the 
adoption or imitation of features of timber con- 
struction in stone construction and ornament by 
the ancients ; as, for instance, in the form of the 
Persian capital from Persepolis, and in the dentil 
ornament of classical architecture mentioned in the 
preceding chapters. 

Out of necessity springs construction ; out of 
construction springs ornament. We cannot find 
the individual in either, both being the result of 
slow and gradual evolution, requiring long periods 
of time and continuity of custom, life, and habit, 
and the continuous associatedlabourofcommunities, 
wherein the individual is of less importance than 
the maintenance of the social organism. At first 
the preservation ofthe gens, the tribe, the protection 
and service of the village community, the handing 
on of tradition and folk-lore, until, with conquest 
and extension and consolidation into a nation, 
settled industries, and religious faith and ritual, the 
desire arises to clothe the mythical and spiritual 


ideas of a people in permanent monumental form 
and colour. 

A cathedral represents the collective art, work, 
and thought of centuries. The names of its 
builders, its masons, its carvers, its glaziers, are 
lost ; the heads and hands that carried out >the 
work, whose invention and feeling, whose very life 
have been wrought into the stone and the wood 
and the glass, have left no other record. An 
abbot's or a bishop's name may be given as having 
planned or raised the money for this choir or that 
porch at different times, but the artists and crafts- 
men who did the work generally remain unknown. 
They worked in their craft in harmony with the 
workers in kindred crafts, and as brother members 
of their guild, and instead of building up merely 
personal reputations really evolved collectively the 
distinctive architectural style and decorative types 
of their age. 

This is one reason why a Gothic cathedral is so 
impressive. We see the growth of an organic 
style, starting, perhaps, with the round arch and 
massive Norman pier, and passing through the 
transition to the lancet arch of the early pointed 
to the moulded arch and the clustered shaft and 
foliated capital, with the ribbed, vaulted roof 
covering the long nave with a network of recurring 
constructive lines, and meeting overhead in carved 
bosses, or spreading into Tudor fans. Or we 
may mark the gradual evolution of the window 
from the round headed, deep-set loop-hole of the 
Byzantine and Norman period into the long lancet- 
pointed panel of geometric glass ; and see then 
how by degrees the light, first divided into two by 

353 AA * 

a shaft, suggested the clustering of many lights 
together, as in great western or eastern windows, 
dividing them by mullions breaking into geometric 
tracery in the pointed heads; and thus raising a 
beautiful pierced screen of stone to hold the 
coloured glass and reveal its splendour against 
the full light of the sky. 

Can we name the inventors of these changes, 
the evolvers of these beauties of our constructive 
art ? Do we not feel that by their very nature they 
could not have been claimed by any individual 
mind alone or have reached perfection in a single 
lifetime? They are the natural result of a free 
and vital condition in art, moved by the unity of 
faith and feeling, wherein men work together as 
brothers in unity, each free in his own sphere, but 
never isolated, and never losing his sense of 
relation to the rest 

Thus we get the harmonious effect of a great 
orchestra, where, though every variety of instru- 
ment may be played, all are subordinated, or 
co-ordinated, to the musical scheme, and produce 
that impression of power and sweetness by cadences 
that may be now soft as the whispers of the 
summer winds over a field of wheat, and anon 
sweep like a tempest with the fury of thundering 
waves upon the utmost shores of sound. 

The emotions produced by such forms of 
collective art lift the mind out of the personal 
region altogether; they are akin, indeed, to the 
feelings awakened in the presence of wild nature. 
We seem to hear the voice of Time himself out 
of the caverns of the past, the song of life, like 
that of a child in the sunlight, and the half- 


articulate, pathetic murmur of the voices of birds 
and beasts ; the hush of the wood at noon-tide, 
the transfiguration of the afterglow, and the mystery 
of night 

In the primitive ornament of all peoples we find 
the same or similar typical forms constantly re- 
curring, the germs of pattern design afterwards 
developed, complicated, and refined upon : the 
chequer, the zigzag, the fret, the circle, the spiral 
volute, the twisting scroll can we ascribe their 
invention to any individual mind or hand ? Can 
the mechanician tell us who were the inventors of 
the wheel, the lever, the mode of producing fire, 
the canoe, the paddle, the spade, the plough, the 
vessel of clay, the axe, the hammer, the needle, 
or even spinning and weaving ? Yet they are 
inventions of incalculable importance to human 
life, which without them could not maintain itself, 
much less build upon them, as it were, the vast 
and complex structure of modern invention, of 
science, and of art. 

A form in ornament 'once found, however, is 
repeated. The eye grows accustomed to it, takes 
delight in it, and expects its recurrence. It 
becomes established by use and wont, and is often 
associated with fundamental ideas of life and the 
universe itself. Thus we get traditional ornament; 
handed on from generation to generation, its origin 
and meaning perhaps lost like the pictorial sig- 
nificance of the individual letters of our alphabet, 
which everybody uses, but which require a special 
kind of study and research to explain their real 
meaning and original forms. 

Side by side with this liking for the accustomed 




this demand for the expected, appears to have 
grown up another feeling, a love of change and 
variety equally natural and human, 




In ornament variation may at first be unconscious, 
and might have arisen from the natural tendency 
of the hand to vary a form in repeating it (as our 

357 : : '. 

own experience will tell us), while it requires an 
effort to reproduce its exact counterpart This 
tendency to vary the same form, in repeating it, 
by different individuals is illustrated by the little 
American children cultivating their facility of 
hand by drawing on the blackboard. This natural 
variation, having a rich and pleasant effect, is 
encouraged until conscious and studied invention 
and ingenuity of individual artists in the varying 
of designs take its place. 

Tradition in design may no doubt be largely 
attributed to the influence of the workshop, or 
what we should now call technical necessities, the 
use of certain tools and materials giving a certain 
character of their own in the rendering of form, 
as one may see even in the case of such a matter 
as quality of outline (important enough in all 
design) if we compare the differences between a 
form drawn with the pencil, the pen, with the 
brush, or with charcoal. A certain typical treat- 
ment becomes naturally evolved in the course of 
practice. which seems proper to each method, while 
the treatment is sure to be slightly varied in the 
hands of every individual. Of course a strong 
artistic personality may greatly modify tradition 
in any art, though such an one is seldom entirely 
free from its influence ; and the greatest artists in 
past times have generally built upon it, and have 
become what they are rather because of an existing 
vital tradition admitting of individual variation. 

This was largely the case, I think, with the 
great masters of the Italian Renascence, some of 
whom I spoke of in the previous chapter. The 
general standard of excellence was maintained by 


their contemporaries. A great individual artist 
arises and only by degrees distinguishes himself 
by his personal choice and treatment, his varia- 
tion of practice or method, grafting on to the 
stem perhaps some new rare flower. He raises 
the standard higher, he imports new elements, 
he influences tradition, and the lamp is handed 

Giotto's art would not have been what it was 
but for the Byzantine influence under which he 
was trained. Without losing certain fine qualities 
of the dignity and serenity of the earlier art, he 
infused fresh life and prepared the way for the 
greater freedom and naturalism of his successors. 
The various schools of painting are closely linked, 
and if the links were complete we should perhaps 
be more struck with the resemblances, the similari- 
ties, than the differences. 

The great structure of style is raised stone by 
stone : the labour of generations of artists gradually 
advances the standard of excellence. Now and 
then a greater mind appears, and by some new 
thought or method, fresh sentiment or point of 
view, raises the standard higher, and so an epoch 
is marked in art. 

Great cleavages from time to time occur which 
disturb the orderly progression and connection, 
like cataclysms in nature earthquakes and up- 
heavals which break the continuity of the geologic 
beds and throw them upon different levels ; but 
the strong social and collective tendency in man 
is always to repair and reform, to re-unite scattered 
fragments and to form new traditions both in life 
and art. 



In an age which has seen the development of 
an organized industrial system of extraordinary 
and minute division of labour under the factory 
system, and has now entered an epoch of further 
specialization of labour with the invention and 
use of complicated machinery driven ^by steam 
and electric power, in association with which 
labour becomes not only specialized but almost 
automatic, we perhaps hardly need reminding^ of 
the collective influence, since for the effective 
supply of the big world-market all products are 
the result of collective human labour. 

Such an organization of machine production as 
every effective factory displays, of collective labour, 
though not organized for the collective benefit, 
but rather wastefully contending with other factories 
for private profit-making in a fierce and unscrupu- 
lous warfare of commercial competition such 
organizations can hardly be favourable to the 
production of fine and beautiful art. The art* 
the wonder, the invention, if anywhere, must 
really be sought in the means rather than the 
ends. The machines which produce our wares 
are marvels of ingenuity, of mechanical adaptation, 
of economy of force, but the finished product^ is 
often most depressing. One may see in ^ print 
works, for instance, those wonderful colour printing 
machines capable of printing ^seven, and even 
twelve, colours from the rollers In succession upon 
the cloth as it passes through, often turning out 
extremely tame and commonplace patterns on 
cheap material, which look much more interesting 
as engraved upon the polished copper roller than 
they ever do on the cloth. 


Well, it may be said, the remedy is with us 
with the designers. We have only to use our 
invention in producing good and attractive designs, 
adapted to the process and material, and the 
factory and the machine will do the rest. 

It is conceivable, certainly, that where the object 
is solely to produce something at once beautiful 


and serviceable, by a chain of associated and 
intelligent labour, with the most ingenious machines 
at the command of the designers, wonderful things 
might be done ; but it is a question whether, if a 
design be ever so good, we should not grow tired 
of it if we saw it produced in enormous quantities. 
Yet -that, after all, is the object of our factories, 
of our improved machinery, to produce in enormous 
quantities not primarily to supply the world's 



needs either, but in order to sell at a^profit. Art, 

however, is only concerned with quality to make 


everything as good of its kind as possible, to seek 
variety, beauty, appropriateness. 

We have yet to see whether industrial production, 
organized on the modern system, is equal to the 


old handicraftsman with his simple methods, as 
far as artistic results are concerned. 

So far the Indian, with his hand-block printing 
his pattern on his strip of muslin or cotton, or 
dipping his tied cloth into the dye, produces more 
artistic results than all our wonderful machinery. 
Mechanical perfection is one thing, and artistic 
feeling quite another, and the more as an end a 
people seeks after the first the less it is likely to 
care for or understand the other. 

The chain of production, too, may be mechanic- 
ally" complete, as in our best factories it may be 
said to be as far as organization goes, yet we may 
be still far from the finer sympathetic chain of 
artistic association by means of which the best 
work is produced. In this we must include the 
stimulus of external beauty and harmonious sur- 
roundings, as well as individual freedom. 

Such a condition of things might have been 
found in any craft's-guild, and seen in full working 
order in any workshop of the Middle Ages. 

Such an interior as is pictured by Etienne 
Delaune, a celebrated goldsmith of Paris, as late 
as the sixteenth century, of his own atelier, engraved 
by himself, shows us a group of artist craftsmen 
working together with all the tools and implements 
of their art around them. Of the three seated at 
the bench one is engraving or chasing ; another 
at work upon a watch, drilling apparently; while 
the third is doing some fine repousstwda. The 
young man at the furnace is probably enamelling, 
and a boy at the wheel appears to be wire-drawing. 
A great variety of tools are placed in exemplary 
order upon the walls pincers, pliers, files, shears, 



hammers, punches, a small anvil, crucibles, and a 
pair of bellows for the furnace. 

There are still some crafts which are worked in 
this simple artistic co-operative way, and have 
undergone but little changes of method since the 
Middle Ages. Indeed, one might say all the 
finer artistic handicrafts; and it is noteworthy that 
: the tools used are of the same type the sculptors 
mallet and chisel, the painter's palette and brushes, 
for instance, have remained practically unchanged 
in form from time immemorial. 

Those who have seen glass blowing and the 
formation of glass vessels must have been struck 
by the skill and celerity displayed by the craftsmen 
at the furnace mouth, under very trying conditions, 
and also by the necessity of effective help at certain 
movements, when the molten glass is made to 
revolve upon the bar by one man, while the shape 
is given to it by another. The master craftsman 
generally seems to have two assistants, but the 
amount of co-operation necessary in forming the 
vessels depends much upon their size, small pieces 
being completed by one alone. 

There are glass works still working, such as 
those at Whitefriars, which have been there since 
the sixteenth century. The circle of furnace 
mouths, the ruddy glow falling upon the faces and 
figures of the workers, form a striking scene. By 
a skill of manipulation that might well appear 
magical seen for the first time, the craftsmen 
produce vessels of any variety of shape, constantly 
returning the work as it progresses to the fire. 
Though the work seems to lend itself to the 
varying invention of the designer, they can repro- 


duce the section sketched in chalk on a black 
panel at the side of thevfurnace in a completed 
form to exact measurement 


The art of the printer of books, to which so 
much interest has of late been drawn, and which 
has been revived as an art by Mr. William Morris 




at his Kelmscott Press, affords another instance 
of the .'necessity of intelligent and artistic co- 



To begin with, there is the paper ; a good tough 
handmade paper, like drawing paper, is wanted 
for rich and bright impressions of type or woodcuts. 
This must be made from the best linen rags, and 
each sheet is manipulated by the hands, by means 
of a wired frame of wood dipped into the pulp 
and cunningly shaken so that it (the pulp) shall 
spread over the wires evenly to form, when dry, 
the sheet of paper. 

Then the type-founding must be ^ looked after. 
Lettering of good form must be designed, and so 
designed that each letter must be separate and yet 
capable of forming words without undue gaps, and 
also legible pages of agreeable type, good in the 
mass and good in the single letters and words. 
The type-founder and designer must therefore be 
a man of taste and cultivation, he must have a 
knowledge of alphabets, of early printing and of 
historic MSS. and calligraphy, and he must be a 
capable designer, able to appreciate the niceties of 
line, the value of a curve, of balance and mass, 
proportion and appropriate scale. 

Mr. Morris had several typical ancient types 
photographed upon a large scale so as to more 
easily compare their design and structure, and 
founded his own designs for his Kelmscott founts 
more or less upon them, giving them, whether 
Roman or Gothic, a distinctive character of their 
own. This is about as near as one can get in our 
conscious, selective way to old methods, in which 
individuals from time to time introduced small 
variations, while adhering to the general style 
and form, so that the collective traditional in- 
fluence and historic continuity is preserved with 


the cumulative advantages of individual inven- 

Of the placing of the type-page upon the paper, 
regarding the double page of the open book as 
the true unit, I have before spoken, and a great 
deal of art conies into the setting of the type, so 
as to disperse it without leaving "rivers" or gaps- 
much as a designer of a repeating pattern would 
seek to avoid running into awkward accidental 
lines. Constructive principle would here come in, 
and should be serviceable to the printer in enabling 
him to preserve a pleasant and harmonious orna- 
mental effect in his page. 

The designer of printers' ornaments and book 
illustrations, too, if he wishes to make his work 
an essential and harmonious part of the book is, 
while free in his own sphere, bound to remember 
the conditions under which his work will be 
produced and seen ; and, so far from regarding 
these conditions as restraints, should rather regard 
them as sources of suggestion in the treatment of 
his designs, making his initial letters and decorative 
borders and headings natural links to unite the 
formal ornamental element of the type- page with, 
the informal inclosed panel of figure design which, 
in its treatment of line or black and white mass, 
may be but an extension of the same principles 
found in any individual letter of the type-mass. 
The mechanical reason for this is, of course, that 
it simplifies the process of printing, type and 
woodcut being subject to the same pressure. 

With good paper and ink, with good, well-cut 
type and woodcut ornaments and illustrations, the 
success of the book -now depends upon the actual 

369 BB 

printer, as defective printing, poor impressions, 
the blocks not up to full strength, the impressions 
blurred, would spoil the effect of the best work. 
Bright, clean impressions are wanted, and much 
care and skill are required to secure such, as well 
as time to allow the sheets to dry well before being 
made up into book form. 


Finally the binder takes up the tale of collective 
skill necessary to the production of that one of the 
most beautiful of beautiful things a beautiful 

Here, of course, an immense amount of art may 
be called in over and above neat and careful 
craftsmanship in the preliminary but most necessary 


stages of " forwarding/'' as Mr. Cobden-Sanderson 
has told us* Beautiful binding, indeed, may 





















display some of the most refined qualities of 
decorative art in disposition of line and pattern, 
while it affords in gold tooling another instance. of 



strict limitation of method lending itself to free 

invention and fancy. 

The artist Is under the necessity of building ^up 
his lines and constructing his forms by the repetition 
of the impress of certain tools, the most resourceful 
designer being shown by the decorative use he is 
able to make of few and simple forms. An 
examination of the designs by Mr. Cobden- 
Sanderson, given here, will show thatnhey are 
built up of very few units. A flower, a leaf, a stem, 
and straight lines of borders with the lettering, 
which is also an important ornamental unit. 
Everything defends upon the taste and skill with 
which they are used. 

From the single example of the chain of as- 
sociated labour necessary to the production of a 
book, we may see then how much depends upon 
intelligent and harmonious co-operation in collective 
work. Where each process is so important, where 
the skill and taste of each worker is so necessary 
to the complete result, one can hardly say that 
one is more important than another certainly not 
less essential. We see, too, how z>//^r-dependent 
the work of each is. Each stone in the structure 
must be well and truly laid, or sound progress and 
satisfactory completion are impossible. Art in all 
its manifold developments always teaches us this. 
Fault or failure at one stage may ruin the whole 

Are the foundations less important^ than the 
wall; is the wall less important than the window; 
is the roofless essential to the house than the 
carving of its porch, or the painting of its in- 


If we realize the close and necessary links that 
unite all workers, that are essential to the production 
of things useful or beautiful, or both, should not 
we do well to strive to make the association closer 
and more complete than it is, and thus hand on 
the lamp of good tradition in design and workman- 
ship, however far we must look forward to the 
enlargement of our horizon and the harmonizing 
of human life, and its freedom from the sinister 
powers and false ideals that now oppress and 
deceive it ? And if we accept the truth that art is 
unity, and that what the unit is the mass may 
become, should we not strive, each in his sphere, 
whatever our main work may be, to do it worthily 
and well ? remembering that it is better to do a 
small thing well than a big thing badly, and that 
it is the spirit in which our work is done, not the 
place it may accidentally occupy, or the class to 
which it may belong, or the reward it may receive 
in the ordinary estimation, that makes it great or 



Ahmedabad, carved stone lat- 
tice window at, 182, 183. 
Alciati's "Emblems," 253-256. 
Alhambra, the, 186, 187. 
Amiens, sculpture at, 270, 


Amman, Jost, 367. 
Amphora, Greek, 80, 8 1. 
Angels, Christian, 244, 
Andreae, Hieronymus, 284. 
Andreani, Andrea, 330, 331. 
Anthemion ornament, Greek, 

49> 5 2 - 

Apelles, 303, 304. 

Arabian invasion of Persia, 
tJSi 179; casement, i So; 
carved pulpit, 212, 213, 

Arch, round, 5, 16; pointed, 
5, 26. 

Arches, typical forms of, 30. 

Architecture, the original basis 
of design, 3 ; typical con- 
structive forms in, 5 ; Greek, 
6-16 ; Roman, 16-20; By- 
zantine, 20-25 > Norman, 
26-28 ; Gothic, 28-46 ; re- 
lationship between, and the 
art of design generally, 46, 

Ardebil, Holy Carpet of the 
mosque at, 175-177. 

Assyrian border, 49, 50; en- 
amelled tile, 49, 5 1 ; sculp- 
ture, 192, 203, 204; treat- 
ment of natural forms, 198- 

Auxerre, sculpture at, 270, 

Axmouth Church, tower of, 

Bacchus, visit of, to Icarius, 

18, 201. 

Barge-board, use of the, 61. 
Bates, Harry, 100. 
Bellini, Jacopo, 328. 
Beni Hasan, tomb of, 195, 


Benson, W, A. S., 70. 
Bewick, Thomas, revival of 

the woodcut under, 119, 

Birds, Egyptian treatment of, 

264; Japanese treatment of, 

264, 266, 267; Bewick's 

treatment of, 294. 
Blake, William, 119, 120, 294. 
Bohemia, old towns of, 188, 


Book-binding, 370-372, 
Books, decoration of, 117-121, 

Botticelli, Sandro, 323-326. 



Bouchardon, statue of Louis 

XV. by, 99, 10 1. 
Brasses, heraldry in, 252 

characteristics of design in, 


Bronze casting, 98-101. 
Brown, Ford Madox, cartoons 

for glass by, 152, 153; 

drawings by, 300. 
Bruges, the Belfry of, 62; 

grate back from, 67, 68; 

iron-work at, 103 ; brass at, 

291, 292. 
"Buch von den Sieben Tod- 

siinden," 117. 
Burgmair, Hans, 284. 
Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 

studies by, 126. 
Byzantine art, 20-25, 141,239. 

Cairo, casement from, 181 ; 

pulpit from, 212, 213, 215; 

carvedand inlaid panel from, 


Calvert, Edward, 294, 
Cambridge, King's College 

Chapel, 32. 

Candelabra, brass, 73-75. 
Candlesticks, 69, 71, 73, 76, 


Canopied tombs, 38, 39 ; seat 

and sideboard, 41. 

Canterbury, Anselm's Tower, 
26, 27; transitional arcade, 
29 ; south side of choir, 43, 
45 ; fire-dog from St. Nicho- 
las's Hospital, 67. 

Cave men, art of the, 259, 260, 

Ceiling decoration, 124, 125, 
126, 131. 

Cellini, Ben venuto, loo. 

Celtic cross, 209. 
Cera perduta^ 98, 99. 
Chequer pattern, the, 48, 49. 
Chimneys, importance of, in 

design, 63-65. 
Chinese porcelain, 86, 174, 

214; embroidery, 115, 211 ; 

design, features of, 2 1 4, 216, 

Christ-church, Norman house 

at, 63. 
Christian symbols, 239, 240, 


Cimabue, 306. 
Circle, the, 226. 
Clarke, Purdon, 210. 
Clay, modelling in, 93-96. 
Cobden-Sanderson, T. J., 370- 

37 2 

Colosseum, the, 16, 17. 

Constantine, arch of, 19. 

Copper-plate engraving, 119, 

Cotton printing, in. 

Crane, Walter, book decora- 
tion, 139, 140; wall-paper 
designs, 1 24-1 34 ; floor mo- 
tive, 130. 

Crane, wrought iron, -69. 

Creeny's "Monumental 
Brasses," 252, 291, 293. 

Dalziel, the brothers, 298, 300. 
Dante, 308; portrait of, by 

Giotto, 309. 

Da Vinci, Leonardo, 333-338. 
De Hooghe, Romeyn, 256. 
Delaune, Etienne, 363. 
Delft ware, 86. 
Delia Robbia ware, 164. 
Dennington Church, carving 

in, 42, 92. 


Derby pottery, 86. 

Devils, mediaeval, 244. 

Diaper, rectangular, 88 ; Chin- 
ese, 216. 

Dish decoration, 85-87. 

Dore, Gustave, 187. 

Doyle, Richard, 298. 

Drinking vessels, 79-85. 

Dripstone, principal of the, 59, 

Du Maurier, George, 298. 

Diirer, Albert, 278-285. 

Eger, 189. 

Egyptian pottery, 96, 97; 
primitive dwellings, 167, 
168; stone columns, 169, 
170, 171; hieroglyphics, 
194, 195; mural paintings, 
196, 197 ; types of design, 
219; symbolism, 229-232; 
treatment of birds, 264; 
realism in art, 265. 

Electric light fittings, 78. 

Emblem book, the, 253, 254.' 

Embroidery, 113-116, 211. 

Erasmus's "Praise of Folly," 
107, 1 08. 

Evangelists, symbols of the, 

Fire-dogs, 66, 67, 103. 
Fire-irons, 66, 103. 
Florence, tower of the Palazzo 

Vecchio, 62, 63. 
Ford, Onslow, 100. 
Forum, frieze discovered in 

the, 270, 271. 

Fra Angelico, 242, 243, 244. 
Framlingham Castle, chimney 

at, 64, 66. 


Fuchsius, "De Historia Stir- 

pium," 286, 287. 
Fylfot, the, 222, 224. 

Gerard's Herbal, 286. 

German chandelier, 73-75 ; 
lantern, 76, 77 ; beer mugs, 
82 ; pitcher, 87, 96 ; early 
woodcuts, 117, 1 1 8, 278. 

Giotto, 270, 306-314, 359. 

Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 270, 306. 

Gilbert, Alfred, 100. 

Glass, stained, Gothic, 32, 
141 " } designing for, 141 

Glass bottles (Italian), 82, 83, 


Glass-blowing, 365, 366. 

Gothic architecture, develop- 
ment of, 28-46. 

Gozzoli, Benozzo, 244, 318- 

Grate backs, cast-iron, 66-68. 

Greek sculpture and archi- 
tecture, 6-15 ; furniture, etc., 
1 5-1 6; water vessels, 80, 
8 1 ; cylix, 85 ; ornament, 
204; stele, 206; symbol- 
ism, 232; gods, 236; sculp- 
ture, 268 ; vases, 304. 

Grimani Breviary, the, 274, 
276* 277. 

Grlin, Hans Baldung, 118. 

Harrison, Miss Jane E., 304. 

Hathersage Church, 223. 

Hazelford Hall, 59. 

Hempstead, fireplace at, 69. 

Heraldry, national, 248; ori- 
gin and development of, 

Herbals, 285, 286. 


Hercules, 236. 

" Herring bone," 225. 
Hesperides, the, 236, 237. 
Hieroglyphic, Egyptian, 194, 


Hindu symbol of the Uni- 
verse, 228, 229. 

Holbein's " Dance of Death," 

Hunt, Holrnan, 296, 300. 

Icarius, house of, 18, 201. 

Ictinus, 303. 

Igdrasil, 229. 

Ightham Mote House, barge- 
board at, 57. 

Impressionism, influenced by 
Japanese art, 290. 

Indian embroidery, 211; de- 
sign, 1 80; carved stone 
windows, 182, 183; flame 
halo, 207; palmette, 210, 

Iron-work, wrought, 100, 102- 


Isle of Man, arms of, 223. 
Italian flasks and bottle, 82, 

83, 84 ; majolica and lustre 

ware, 86; art, 185 ; painters, 


"Jack and the Beanstalk," 

Japanese embroidery, 115, 
1 1 6 ; art, 216; types of de- 
sign, 220; treatment of 
birds, 264, 266, 267 ; plant 
drawing, 286, 288, 289, 

Keene, Charles, 295, 296, 298. 
Kelmscott Press, the, 121, 
136, 139, 368. 

Lamb, symbolic use of the, 


Lamps, design of, 69, 70, 77. 
Leech, John, 298. 
Leigh's Priory, chimneys at, 


Leighton, Lord, 300, 306. 

Lintel, architecture of the, 5. 

Lion, Scottish, 248 ; in herald- 
ry, 252. 

Lions (sculptured), Assyrian, 
202, 203; modern, 203. 

Loom, the, 106-108. 

Lotus, Egyptian, 169, 197, i99> 
230; Assyrian, 202. 

Louis XV., statue of, by Bou- 
chardon, 99, 101. 

Luxor, column at, 169, 

Lycia, tombs in, 6, 7. 

Majolica ware, 86. 
Manchester, Cheetham's Hos- 
pital, 67. 

Mantegna, Andrea, 326-333. 
Manuscripts, illuminated, 274, 

276, 277. 

Mat, the primitive, 48, 49, 50. 
MatthioluSj Herbal of, 286, 
May, Phil, 299, 300.- 
Medici, Giuliano de, tomb of, 

Medici, Lorenzo de, 339, 340; 

tomb of, 347, 348. 
Memling, 42, 43, 274, 276,. 

277. ^ 

Memrni, Simone, 306, 307. 
Michael Angelo, 336, 338-348. 
Millais, Sir J. K, 296. 
Modelling in clay, 93 ; in wax, 

Morris, William, i2i s 136, 248, 



Mosaics at Ravenna, 21-25, 

Mouldings in architecture, 

origin of, 59. 
Multan, tomb at, 182. 
Mycenae, gate of the lions at, 

6, 10. 

Nile, the (sculptured group), 

234, 235. 

Norman architecture, 26, 27. 
Norse sagas, 227. 
Nuremberg, iron-work at, 103, 

Nuremberg Chronicle, the, 


Omar Khayyam, 178. 
"Once a Week," 298. 
Orcagna, Andrea, 244, 245, 


Oxen, heads of, 55, 56. 
Oxford, Magdalen Tower, 62. 

Palmette, the, 210, 211. 

Pan, 244. 

Pandora, story of, 237. 

Paper making, 368. 

Paris, Sainte Chapelle, glass 

from, 141-143? J 45- 
Parthenon, the, 7-14, 268; 

symbolism of the, 232-234, 

246. ' 

Peacock, the, in Byzantine art, 


Penshurst Place, 63. 
Pergamos, altar of, 268. 
Persephone, story of, 238. 
Persepolis, 172, 247. 
Persian pottery, 86 ; types of 

design, 171, 211, 219 ; 

glazed bricks, 171-173; 


carpets, 109, no, 174, 175, 
177; art, 176-180; embroid- 
ery, 114, 211 ; pomegran- 
ates, 208, 209 ; griffin, 244, 

Petrarch, 319. 

Phidias, 303. 

Philae, lotus capital at, 171. 

Photography, influence of, on 
^ design, 119, 138, 300, 301. 

Pisano, Niccolo, 314, 315. 

Pistoia, Cathedral at, 164, 165. 

Pitcher, design of a, 79. 

Plate decoration, 85, 87. 

Polynesian ornament, 225, 

" Pomerium de Tempore " 
(Augsburg, 1502), 294. 

Potter's wheel, the, 94. 

Pottery, 79, 94-96.. 

Pourbos, 62. 

Poynter, Sir E. J., 296, 300. 

Pre-Raphaelite movement, the, 

Printing, the art of, 366-370. 

Printed fabrics, designing for, 

Printed page, proportions of 
the, 135, 137 ; decoration 
of the, 135-141, 369. 

Protogenes, 303, 304. 

" Punch," 295-300. 

Raphael, 328, 338. 
Ravenna, mosaics at, 21-25, 

239-241. ^ 
Recurring lines, principle of, 

12, 28. 

Rethel, Alfred, 296. 
Roman architecture, 16-2 1 ; 

water- vessel, 80 ; gods, 236. 
Roof, pitch of the, 56. 



Rossetti, D, G., 296. 

Rothenburg, pitcher from, 87, 

96; iron balustrade from, 

105, 106. 
Rubens, Peter Paul, 332. 

Salisbury, St. Thomas's, screen 

at, 104, 1 06. 
Salisbury Cathedral, Chapter 

House in, 32 ; glass grisaille 

in, 151. 

Sambourne, Linley, 297, 298. 
Sandys, Frederick, 296. 
San Gimignano, towers of, 61. 
Sauvastika, the, 222, 224. 
Scale in design, 133. 
Scandinavian clay vessel, 95 ; 

ornament, 226. 
Scarabasus, the, 230. 
Shields, typical forms of, 249, 


Sicilian silk tissue, 251, 252. 
Signorelli, 244. 
Simonds, George, 100. 
Sistine Chapel, ceiling of the, 

342, 343- 

"Sleeping Beauty," 238. 
Snake of time, the, 228, 230. 
Snuffers, 76, 77. 
Soul, Egyptian symbolism of 

the, 230. 
Sparrow, J. S., modern glass 

by, 156, 157. 
Sphinx, the, 232. 
Stags drinking, a Christian 

emblem, 239, 240. 
St. David's Cathedral, timber 

roof, 43, 44 ; misereres in, 

93, 94- 
St. Ethelwold, Benedictional 

of, 227. 
Stevens, Alfred, 67, 204. 

St. Mark, winged lion of, 246. 
St. Martha, at. Troyes, 273, 


Stone-carving, 91-93. 
Stonehenge, 6. 
Sunlight, influence of, on art, 

16, 161 et seq., 182, 184. 
Susa, glazed bricks at, 171- 

Tenniel, Sir John, 236, 298. 
Tennyson's poems (185 7), 2 96. 
Textiles, designing for, 86, 

106-113, 131. 
Thames, Father, 236. 
Thebes, mural painting from, 

Theodora, the Empress (mo- 

saic), 24. ...... 

Thonging, decoration derived 

from, 54. 

Title-page, the, 136. 
Tivoli, Temple of the Sibyl at, 


Torregiano, 340, 
Towers, origin and importance 

of, 61-64. 

Tradition in design, 349, 350. 
Tree of Life, Assyrian, 198, 

200 ; Persian, 211; Norse, 

227, 228. 
Trees, Egyptian and Assyrian 

treatment of, 200-202. 
" Triumph of Julius Caesar, 

The," 329-332. 
" Triumphs of Maximilian, 

The," 282, 284, 285. 
Troyes, St. Urbain, sculpture 

at, 273, 275. 

Turnov, old houses at, 188. 
Type, arrangement of, 135- 

founding, 368. 

Van Eyck, 42, 73. 

Venice, St. Mark's, 22, 23; 
badge of the city, 246. 

Venus and Paris, relief, 237. 

Venus of Melos, the, 304. 

Vine, the, as a Christian em- 
blem, 239. 

Volute ornament, origin of, 
51; ancient specimens, 53. 

Walker, Frederick, 296, 297. 
Wall-paper designs, 1 24 et seq. 
Water- vessels, 79-81. 
Wattled fence, 51, 52. 
Wax, modelling in, 97. 
Wells Cathedral, 32, 33, 40, 

Westminster Abbey, nave of, 

30, 3 1 ; Henry VII. 's Chapel, 

32, 35> 43- 

Whistler, J. McNeill, 300. . 
Wicker work, 51. 


Wilton House, relief from, 237. 
Winchelsea Church, tomb in, 

,38, 39- 

Winchester College Chapel, 
glass from, 147. 

Windows, traceried, 32, 34, 
141 ; a?id see Glass, stained. 

Winston, on glass painting, 

Wolgemuth, Michael, 278. 

Wood-carving, 91-93. 

Woodcuts, early German, 117, 

1 1 8, 278-285 ; Italian, 285 ; 
in Herbals, 285-288; Japan- 
ese, 286, 288-290 ; revival 
under Bewick, 119, 294. 
| Worcester pottery, 86. 

! York Minster, the " Five Sis- 
| ters," 32, 37. 

i Zigzag, the, 226, 227.